[by Ben Ficklin]
Winged: New Writing On Bees profoundly approaches a familiar topic: bee populations are in steady decline – Colony Collapse Disorder. Instead of a scientific perspective, Winged explores bees with emotion and personal
experience. Melissa Reeser Poulin and Jill McKenna Reed are the books two editors and both were present on October 30th at Literary Arts for the collection’s release. The night featured twelve writers (only a third of the book’s contributors), free wine, and a professional beekeeper. The varied contributors gave an intimate presentation of bees, and thus a unique understanding of colony collapse disorder.
The first reader was Oregon’s previous Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen.
The book includes two of her poems, including the first piece in the
collection. From there, the night went from poem to prose to poem to
prose to a brief lecture by the beekeeper. There was a story of honey
maintaining a marriage only to crash and ooze across the floor, a poem
about a hive awaking at dawn, and an excerpt from a novel where bees are
extinct on Earth and only exist on another planet.
Here is a complete list of the evenings performers: Paulann Petersen,
Leni Zumas, Marina Callahan, Lynn Otto, George Venn, Jennifer Moore,
Annette Fisch, John Beer, Michele Glazer, Lois Leveen, Kate Gray,
Adrienne Flagg, and Matt Reed.
Just when the evening seemed to be ending, Paulann Petersen stood and
asked Melissa Reeser Poulin and Jill McKenna Reed to read their
contributions to the collection. The editors ended the night with their
work – which began on June 22nd, 2013 when Poulin experienced the death
of 50,000 bumble bees in a Wilsonville parking lot. Winged’s editors
asked that their readers connect with bees and encourage an end colony
collapse disorder. Perhaps, by purchasing a private beehive to buzz and
swarm in personal backyards.
Literary Arts thanks the twelve writers and one beekeepers. Special
thanks to Jill McKenna Reed and Melissa Reeser Poulin for the collection
and production of Winged. Thanks to the audience who crowded in on a
rainy evening. On November 20th, Melissa Poulin will be offering a free poetry workshop at Literary Arts: Writing The Wild