Publication Party, Sept. 17th, for Peter Ludwin’s new book, GONE TO GOLD MOUNTAIN

Ludwin coverRaven Chronicles is hosting a coming-out, publication party for Peter Ludwin’s new book, Gone to Gold Mountain, MoonPath Press. Join us Saturday, September 17th, 3-7 p.m., 15528 12th Avenue NE, Shoreline, 98155. Peter will read from his new book, which will be for sale, along with several of his earlier works. Raven’s new issue, “Celebration, Vol. 22,” will also be on sale.

Bring a musical instrument; bring a dish or drink to share: potluck dinner.

RSVP Publication Party: Sept. 17th, 2016, 3-7 pm.
15528 12TH Avenue NE, Shoreline 98155
Potluck dinner
Reply: editors@ravenchronicles.org; 206-941-2955


Peter Ludwin about his book:  The focus of Gone to Gold Mountain, my new book from MoonPath Press, is the massacre of over thirty Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon on May 25, 1887, by a gang of horse thieves based in Oregon’s Wallowa County. A fair number of the poems are of the persona variety in voices as disparate as a Chinese prostitute, the gang leader, a wife left behind in China, and the clerk of Wallowa County, who, along with many local residents, didn’t want the story told. A sub-theme is the degree to which the Chinese presence in the 19th century American West has largely been forgotten.

Blurbs for Gone to Gold Mountain:

“In Gone to Gold Mountain, poet Peter Ludwin brings to life the little-known story of Chea Po and his fellow Chinese gold miners, massacred in 1887, by Eastern Oregon pioneers. Ludwin embodies Chea Po and his experiences of breathtaking racism, homesickness, and dislocation. He imbues these persona poems, letters, and laments, with the finely-drawn landscapes of Hells Canyon and China, glowing lanterns, and an eagle circling the canyon rim. Chea Po seems to have haunted Ludwin until finally, here, his life and death are told justly. We are the richer for it.”—Kathleen Flenniken

“Peter Ludwin is a writer who knows there are poems no one asks for, but everyone needs—so he sets out to write them. In this book, he travels to a place of massacre, then enhances the story of trauma with longing, devotion, hope, and the unfurling tendril of life that reaches generations beyond a tragedy. The poems speak as letters, news items, memories, secret notes of lover to lost soul. Ludwin’s lens of imagination pierces a hidden past at a remote place, and his lyric archive invents what might otherwise be forgotten, what he calls ‘the speckled rhythms’ of change. Read this book for insight into a hidden chapter of international history, and to break a code of silence across cultures. You will recognize more poems need rich research, and history needs to sing.”—Kim Stafford

“Ludwin’s haunting poems resurrect an era of vehement anti-Chinese sentiment and the U.S. by focusing on the Hells Canyon massacre in 1887—a segment of U.S. history conveniently omitted from the textbooks. To a great extent, the work’s strength lies in its understated eloquence, riveting imagery, and frequent use of persona poems in different voices. With great insight, skill and compassion, Ludwin has produced a fine collection that succeeds in fleshing out this nightmare episode from our past.”—Diana Anhalt, author of because there is no return.


Peter Ludwin is the recipient of a Literary Fellowship from Artist Trust and the W.D. Snodgrass Award for Endeavor and Excellence in Poetry. His first book, A Guest in All Your Houses, was published in 2009 by Word Walker press. His second collection, Rumors of Fallible Gods, a two-time finalist for the Gival Press Poetry Award, was published in 2013, by Presa Press. Gone to Gold Mountain is forthcoming from MoonPath press. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a poetry finalist for the 2016 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards, Ludwin’s work has appeared in many journals, including Atlanta Review, The Bitter Oleander, The Comstock Review, Crab Orchard Review, Nimrod, North American Review, Raven Chronicles and Prairie Schooner. He works for the Kent Parks Department.

Larry Crist: recipient of Marion Kimes Memorial Open Mic Award

Marion Kimes Memorial Open Mic AwardOn July 1, 2016, Larry Crist was awarded the first Marion Kimes Memorial Open Mic Award for his dedication to/and support of the spirit of Open Mic readings. He received a cash award of $100.00.

I was surprised, shocked, flabbergasted to be the first recipient of the Marion Kimes Open Mic Award.

I met Ms. Kimes, in 1992, at Red Sky Poetry Theatre, one of the first people to welcome me to Seattle. I had moved here for theatre with a handful of poems and stories. I had taken a few writing classes, though I had never read my own out loud, nor had sent much out.

Marion was a dynamo of energy, good cheer, and selfless enthusiasm for everybody’s writing and participation. She was especially welcoming to newcomers. As an actor, I was wary of another cliquish caste system, one very much evident in the poetry scene.

I felt in awe of the many new voices I was experiencing, commanding the room’s attention. And with Marion as everyone’s advocate, respect was always widely generated around the room.

As I attended other open mics, while auditioning around town, I wasn’t sure whether I was a writer wanting to act, or an actor wanting to write. Both required endless homework and, hopefully, an audience. With theatre you are continually selling oneself; with writing, however, you are selling something far more personal and unique, intangible perhaps, certainly not an obvious commodity as in theatre.

When performing a show, I’d get nervous about everything—external things beyond my control—whereas with writing, all that mattered really were the words themselves. Performance was a matter of presentation. To be clear, be yourself, and communicate to those listening to what you had placed upon the page.

From open mics, I discovered the most effective time to edit was about an hour before you were going to read. Like a lot of younger poets, my reading and listening to poetry, not my own, was minimal. I was resistant to the idea of “poetry,” which, at the time, I would have said seemed precious, manipulative, and unduly clever.

My enthusiasms began to shift and open mic became my drug-of-choice, and poems—such as I wrote them—weren’t ready or finished until, like a tired actor, they had made the rounds through a series of venues, tweaking them along the way.

Marion was always amicable and a generous resource, welcoming to all poetic fledglings, eager to encourage or reinforce whatever positive experiences therein gleaned. She might stop someone who was nervous and have them begin again, only, “take it a tad slower this time,” said in her soft Texan twang and a calming smile all the while.

Something I recall regarding a utopian society—put everyone first and be kind and respectful to all, and while I didn’t necessarily ever hear Marion say this, this is what I observed from her in my formative years reading in Seattle’s open mic scene.

—Larry Crist


Larry Crist lives in Seattle and is originally from California, specifically Humboldt County. He has also lived in Chicago, Houston, London, and Philadelphia, where he attended Temple University, receiving an MFA in Theatre. He’s been widely published. Undertow Overtures is Larry’s first poetry collection, published by ATOM Press, in 2014.

Black Lives Matter: Found Poem by Anna Bálint

Livestream

Please sir, don’t tell me he’s dead.
Please sir, don’t tell me he’s gone…just like that

Stay with me
Stay with me, baby

We got pulled over for a busted taillight.
That’s all baby.  A busted taillight.
Stay with me.

A traffic stop.  Nothing but a traffic stop, baby.
Stay with me.

Oh my God, don’t tell me he’s dead.
Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that…
Please don’t tell me he’s gone.
Officer, please don’t tell me you did this to him.
You shot four bullets into him, sir.

Baby, baby, stay with me…

You told him to get his ID, sir
You told him to get his driver’s license.
Please officer, don’t tell me you just did this to him.
You shot four bullets into him, sir.
He was just getting his license and registration, sir.

Stay with me
Stay with me, baby

He’s a good man, sir.
He works in a school.
He’s never been to jail, anything…
He’s not a gang member, anything…
He worked with kids, sir, they loved him, sir…

Baby, baby, stay with me…

Exit the car!
Exit the car!
Keep your hands where they are!
Keep them up!
Move away!  Move away!  Keep moving!  Move away!
Now, get on your knees!
ON YOUR KNEES!

Mommy, Mommy, I’m right here with you, Mommy…

Stay with me.
Stay with me baby.

ON YOUR KNEES!!!

—Anna Bálint


This “found” poem is constructed from the words of Lavish, aka Diamond Reynolds, in the Livestream video she made right after police shot and killed her boyfriend, Philando Castile. Immediately after seeing her video, I tried to post it on Facebook, but at that point it was being blocked and wouldn’t post. This poem burst out of my frustration/anger/grief of wanting her words to be heard…and continue to be heard.


Anna Bálint is the author of Horse Thief, a collection of short fiction spanning cultures and continents that was a finalist for the Pacific Northwest Book Award. Two earlier books of poetry are Out of the Box and spread them crimson sleeves like wings. Her poems, stories, and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including recently in Riverbabble and Sparrow Trill,  Minerva Rising’s special issue on Race in America. Anna is an alumna of Hedgebrook Writers Retreat, the Jack Straw Writers Program, and has received awards/grants from the Seattle Arts Commission and 4Culture. In 2001, she received a Leading Voice Award in recognition of her creative work with urban youth at El Centro de la Raza. She has taught creative writing for many years and in many places, including in prisons, El Centro de la Raza, Antioch University, and Richard Hugo House. Currently, she is a teaching artist with Path With Art, and at Recovery Café in Seattle, where she founded and leads Safe Place, a weekly writing circle for people in recovery.

Editor’s Notes: Celebration, Vol. 22

When we chose Celebration as our theme for Vol. 22, we assumed that we would gets lots of submissions that were celebratory, high on life, verbal jumps for joy, even if tinged with what we called “an elegiac time for contemplation.” Surprisingly, we got a hell of a lot of death-funeral-dying, down in the dumps, submissions (at least in the poetry category). Maybe it is the times we live in. With the current U.S. political climate, there isn’t too much to celebrate.

We did celebrate the fact that Raven’s staff finally joined the digital world: instead of receiving submissions for this issue through the U.S. mail, we used Submittable.com. For me, it was Hallelujah! time. So much less work. So much more organized. We have always wanted to make sure we never charged anyone for submitting work to Raven, and that hasn’t changed by using Submittable. It just makes everything more efficient and less labor intensive, and more timely for both writers and staff.

We did end up publishing more prose work than usual. Matt Briggs and Dana Dickerson picked twelve examples of work celebrating such diverse events as Obama’s first election, lesbian high school students attending a prom after a successful protest, the building of a hummingbird’s nest in reaction to a jazz rehearsal, breaking through barriers to becoming an artist, the man in the bunny suit attending a birthday party, and warrior ants who eat other ants and then die of malnutrition, thus saving the sugarcane crops in the process.

And thanks to John Olson, and his very funny essay, “Sillybrations,” we get to be thankful for, or not, celebrating Fill Our Stapler Day, Face Your Fears Day, Zero Tasking Day, and, if there is one, Endless List Day. Make your own list.

So many good poets sent in work, Poetry Editor Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor picked twenty-two poems that celebrate diverse events, places, and persons: a son, Einstein’s gravitational waves, a traditional Apache basket weaver, the making of tea, giving cats fresh water every morning, and the fact that on Jane’s table everything is “for sale except the hand-blown / shot glass with her mother’s / thumbprint pressed in a thin / petalled nasturtium” (Kevin Miller, pg. 63).

We are pleased to present a poem by Billie Swift (“I Question the Door Open,” pg. 62), the new owner-operator of Open Books: A Poem Emporium. Poets Christine Deavel and John W. Marshall are finally retiring and turning over the reins to Billie. They’ve served the poetry community since 1995; Open Books is one of only a handful poetry-only bookstores in the universe.

If you love the work in this magazine, and the work Raven has done since 1991: please go on our website, www.ravenchronicles.org, and donate, or buy a subscription, or buy an copy for a loved one. We appreciate all the support we get.

Announcement: the Vol. 23, Fall/Winter issue of Raven will not have an open reading/submission period. Vol. 23 will be a special issue, dedicated to twenty years of work of Jack Straw’s Writers Program. Late in 2016, we will post guidelines and themes for Vol. 24, Spring/Summer 2017 issue.

Later. . .

Phoebe Bosché,
Raven Managing Editor

Poets Against Hate-Lawrence Matsuda

Just a Short Note to Say Something You Already Know 

 — For Donald’s Daughter, Ivanka Trump

Ivanka, in a different time and place,
you and your children are squeezed into
cattle cars destined for Nazi death camps.
Stars pinned to your coats
and numbers tattooed on your arms.
Religion is your crime, something like
the 120,000 Japanese Americans whose race
incarcerates them during World War II.

If you dodge head shaving,
and starvation, maybe a country
would welcome you.

Angel of death is difficult to slip,
unfortunates are turned away,
chased by verbal brickbats and pitchforks.
You smell freedom’s scent
but only glimpse porthole view
of Lady Liberty’s tantalizing torch.

Doors slam and hands
of kindness withdraw.
You are not among privileged
huddled masses.

Today as a 1% American demographic,
you are safe by an accident of birth.
Others less fortunate, however,
stand on precipices knowing,
“History does not repeat
itself but it rhymes.”*

When Donald promises
a magnificent Great Wall
and spews religious
hatred to cheering crowds,
you must feel a guilty twinge
knowing if this were 1943 Germany,
a chorus of incendiary voices
would echo and push innocents
off slippery cliffs into eternal darkness.
Black hole so forbidding victims
never see their children again
as the self-serving politicians parade
on bandwagons swerving on and off
a broken highway of eight million bones.

—Lawrence Matsuda

*________________________________
Quote attributed to Mark Twain.


Lawrence Matsuda, January 2016—in memory of my parents who were incarcerated during WWII because of their race, and my Hiroshima relatives who were among the first to be incinerated by an atomic bomb.