Portland loves poetry, and Portland Book Festival loves poets!
Mark you calendar for these can’t-miss events at the virtual 2020 Portland Book Festival, presented by Bank of America. Be sure to register at PDXBookFest.org, and RSVP at the event pages linked below. View all poetry events here.
Mon, November 9 from 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm PST
Poetry that explores displacement, violence, myth and memory, this discussion features two of the year’s most anticipated new collections. Moderated by Ashley Toliver, winner of the 2020 Oregon Book Award in Poetry for Spectra.
for Tamir Rice, 2002-2014
After they shot me they tackled my sister.
The sound of her knees hitting the sidewalk
made my stomach ache. It was a bad pain.
Like when you love someone
and they lie to you. Or that time Mikaela cried
all through science class and wouldn’t tell anyone why.
This isn’t even my first letter to you,
in the first one I told you about my room
and my favorite basketball team
and asked you to come visit me in Cleveland
or send your autograph. In the second one
I thanked you for your responsible citizenship.
I hope you are proud of me too.
Mom said you made being black beautiful again
but that was before someone killed Trayvon.
After that came a sadness so big it made everyone
look the same. It was a long time before we could
go outside again. Mr. President it took one whole day
for me to die and even though I’m twelve and not afraid of the dark
I didn’t know there could be so much of it
or so many other boys here.
Mon, November 9 from 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm PST
Naomi Shihab Nye, the current Young People’s Poet Laureate, discusses her new book, which collects her most popular and accessible poems from the past forty years.
Mon, November 16 from 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm PST
Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages—bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers—be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: “Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden.” In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.
Mon, November 16 from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm PST
Presented in collaboration with Black Mountain Institute, Literary Arts, The Loft’s Wordplay, and Wisconsin Book Festival.
Rankine has emerged as one of America’s foremost scholars on racial justice. . . . [To] a past we have avoided reckoning, Rankine will be helping America understand itself, one conversation at a timeThe Associated Press
Thu, November 12 from 12:30 pm – 1:15 pm PST
These poetry collections are explicitly concerned with language—vernacular, riffing, reclamation—and the ways words shape our collective American cultural consciousness. Moderated by Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani.
Finna is a hip millennium blues song shot through with bolts of joy and humor, an innovative homage to home, and a trenchant critique of so-called race in these so-called United States.Mitchell S. Jackson, author of Survival Math
Tue, November 17 from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm PST
In Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, she addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and… zombies. Pre-order from Powell’s by November 15 to attend.