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Pop-up: Caitlin Scarano

Sat, Nov 5, 2022 from 11:00 am - 11:20 am PDT

General Admission Pass required for entry

Caitlin Scarano pops-up in the Portland Art Museum galleries with her poetry collection, The Necessity of Wildfire.

Scarano is paired with the artwork Unravel #3 by Ritsuko Ozeki; found in the Forces of Nature exhibit, on the 1st floor of the Portland Art Museum. Please reference the Portland Art Museum Map or the Portland Book Festival print program to find this location.


Selected by prize judge Ada Limón, Caitlin Scarano’s collection The Necessity of Wildfire wrestles with family violence, escaping home, unraveling relationships, and the complexity of sexuality.

The Necessity of Wildfire begins, “To not harm / each other is not enough. I want to love you / so much that you have no before.” These poems chase a singular, thorny question: how does where and who we came from shape who and how we love? Judge Ada Limón says the resulting collection is “hungry, clear-eyed, tough, and generous.”

Scarano’s imagination is galvanized by the South where she grew up and by the Pacific Northwest where she now resides—floods and wildfires, the Salish Sea and the North Cascades, and the humans and animals whose lives intersect and collide there. In this collection, Scarano reckons with a legacy of violence on both sides of their family, the death of their estranged father, the unraveling of long-term relationships, the complexity of their sexuality, and the decision not to have children. With fierce lyricality, these poems—“stories without monsters, / stories without morals”—resist both redemption and blame, yet call in mercy.


Portland Book Festival General Admission Passes are required for entry into all events. Passes are $15 in advance and $25 day of Festival. Youth 17 & under, or with a valid high school ID get in FREE. All full-priced General Admission Passes include a $5 book fair voucher and entry into Portland Art Museum. Passes admit attendees to the Festival; individual events are first-come, first-served. More info here.

Caitlin Scarano

Originally from Southside Virginia, Caitlin Scarano is a writer based in Bellingham, Washington. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her second full length collection of poems, The Necessity of Wildfire, was selected by Ada Limón as the winner of the Wren Poetry Prize and is now available through Blair Publishing. Caitlin is a member of the Washington Wolf Advisory Group. She was selected as a participant in the NSF’s Antarctic Artists & Writers Program and spent November 2018 in McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
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