Monday, October 10, 2011

Saturday, October 22: Poets Sue Landers & Michelle Erickson | Music by Barna Howard

The Switch is back! We took the summer off to travel, write, take photos, paint, eat (and serve) food; with new dogs, new homes, and new jobs. Allison, Paul, & Jeremy are excited to present to you, on Saturday, October 22nd: Brooklyn poet Sue Landers, and Portland's own Michelle Erickson. Country folksinger Barna Howard will also play his sweet music. At around 6:00 p.m., we'll be there with snacks, artwork for yr eyeballs...

Sue Landers is the author of 15: A Poetic Engagement with The Chicago Manual of Style (Least Weasel/Propolis Press 2011), 248 mgs., a panic picnic (O Books 2003), and Covers (O Books 2007). She co-edited the early aughts journal Pom2, Recent poems have appeared in Elective Affinities, Try Magazine, and The Recluse. She lives in Brooklyn.

Michelle Erickson on Michelle Erickson:
"I started writing poetry on Winnie the Pooh stationery when I was young and my chest felt too full. I write about loss, discovery, and mouse skeletons between floorboards—which is basically loss and discovery anyway. I like to deep sea dive into the places we can't take our flashlights and bring up something beautiful when I can."


by Sue Landers
From Chapter 17, Documentation 2: Specific Content

What a book can do. Paper touching greatness. The stars just like us. Working. Elsewhere. The internet. A 18th century barn converted into a community theater. I knew then it was possible to be lost and present at the same time. Not like in songs of mines and quarries. But in a trolley or a brickyard. Puppets teaching children about Sojourner Truth. Not so far from North America’s first paper mill. The graveyard. Hurt candy. A secret door to the underground railroad. Act, line, and the like. Where the shooting happens. A kind of ghost dancing music. Much later, I repeat: we were very poor, you don’t understand, I’m not going back there. Imaginary possessions: discretion and common sense. Hard plastic masks to sweat inside. Produce in cans. Doors. A body between two doors. A body leaving through the back door. A body in a closet. All skeletons. My skeleton crouched or upright. I am blowing out the dents

by Michelle Erickson

Where light goes

Come in here, let me tell you
about ritual, about carving your
name into the roof of your mouth
so every word will be true.
Come to the water, observe.
See how the sky bends,
how the light seems to know me?
My body is an anchor.

Listen to this light fall. Don’t talk about it,
drink it. Don’t raise your tongue, let it sink.
When it’s dark, I can’t forget.
I pack suitcases for my bones,
and when I remember my skin
I throw them out the window.
My body is a snow globe.
Done and done.
My body is a graveyard.

Walk through this. Take the branch
back, see that line shake?
Watch me arc and bow until my eyes
are no longer blue, but two paintings,
portraits of you standing by the sea.

I till this thirst, sift each moment
and when I find light, watch me—
I turn into a horizon and wail.
My body is a dowsing rod.

Look: when I put my hands together,
I’m not praying, I’m making a window
so light can come in, so I can have stained glass
against my forehead as I lift my arms
and flocks of light can trace patience
along the bottom of my skull.

My body is a room where light goes to study distance.
My body is a room where light goes to shuffle its feet.

My body is a room where light goes to learn why we sleep.
My body is a room where light goes to hunt.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hoa Nguyen & Jesse Morse 5/14 @ 6:30 p.m.

The Switch Reading, Art, and Music Series is happy to announce the successful result of our Kickstarter fundraising campaign! Thanks to generous donations from members of the community, the poet Hoa Nguyen of Austin, Texas, will be reading with local poet Jesse Morse on May 14 at 6:30 p.m. 

Nguyen was born in the Mekong Delta, raised in the DC area, and studied poetics in San Francisco. With poet Dale Smith, she edits the journal and book imprint Skanky Possum. She is the author of eight books and chapbooks including Chinaberry (Fact Simile, 2010), Kiss A Bomb Tattoo (Effing, 2009) and Hecate Lochia (Hot Whiskey, 2009). She currently lives in Austin, where she curates a reading series and teaches creative writing.

Jesse Morse lives in Portland, Oregon. His work has recently appeared in Past Simple, Slack Lust and Unheimliche. He'll have two chapbooks out this year: Rotations (C_L Press) and paragraphs for dolphins (Thuggery & Grace). He runs the Smorg reading series. He plays guitar and sings in The Whirlies. He spends a lot of time outside with his dog Hank.
As far as we know, this is the first time ever that a reading series has attempted to raise funds in advance to bring a poet to town. We are grateful to our literary and artistic community for supporting the effort to bring exciting poets to Portland. We especially want to thank the following people (as well as others who asked to remain anonymous):

1.     AmigoAmiga
2.     Andrew R. Grow
3.     Carol Ciavonne
4.     Christopher Ashby
5.     Elaine Fawcett
6.     Evans
7.     James
8.     Jen C
9.     Jesse Morse
10. Joel Bettridge
11. John Morse
12. Kaia Sand
13. Kathryn Carr
14. Kris Doty
15. Maryrose Larkin
16. Sam Lohmann
17. Sonya Philip
18. Stacy Elaine Dacheux
by Hoa Nguyen: 

Love and level     the sleeves

            Eating is a hand

here       Leave laughing if you must

like leave this creamy celery root

We push out              jerking

a sleeve of we    & I cover you

horses sourced in sea

(weave in waves and manes) 

By Jesse Morse: 
low, deep

                        (for ryan and jackie)

are the tunneled

hoots of great-horned

owls, easy silhouettes.

love is overrated,

i think, but

to prove otherwise

you both sink low

and deep into the

evidence of night,

change what follows.

you two

are one and one

but not one -

a thing real and naked,

casual and undone. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sat., April 9th - HARP & ALTAR PARTY: Lichtenstein, Schomburg, Zeiss + Music by Hardin

Portland friends,

This Saturday, please come on out to Switchyard Studios, where we will host a celebration for the magazine Harp & Altar. Poets Jesse Lichtenstein, Zachary Schomburg will read, as well as fiction writer Michael Zeiss.

Alina Estelle Hardin will play and sing for us, and as usual we will have wine, beer & snacks for your faces. Feel free to bring your own drinks, and remember to tip your partytender. Join us for The Switch!

Hugs & Kisses,
Paul, Jeremy & Allison


Saturday, April 9th


@ 6:00 - 8:00p.m.

Jesse Lichtenstein

Zachary Schomburg

Michael Zeiss

+ Music by Alina Estelle Hardin

& Artwork (TBA)

Jesse Lichtenstein lives in Oregon where he writes poetry, fiction, journalism, and screenplays (and helps run the Loggernaut Reading Series). His poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Paris Review, Diagram, EOAGH, Gulf Coast, Octopus, Boston Review, and other journals.


Zachary Schomburg is the author of The Man Suit (Black Ocean 2007), Scary, No Scary (Black Ocean 2009), Little Blind Thing (Poor Claudia 2010), a dvd of poem-films, and the forthcoming Viking (McSweeney's, 2012). He lives in Portland where he co-edits Octopus Books and Octopus Magazine.


Michael Zeiss, a former resident of Portland, recently returned to the city after a decade in New York. A consultant for non-profit organizations, he spent five years at the American Red Cross working with people affected by the attacks of September 11. His fiction and criticism appear regularly in Harp & Altar.

* Founded in 2006, Harp & Altar is a Brooklyn-based online literary magazine edited by poet Keith Newton and novelist Eugene Lim. In its short tenure, Harp & Altar has emerged as an important new source for innovative and risk-taking literature, publishing poetry and fiction alongside criticism and reviews of writing and art. The Harp & Altar Anthology, featuring a selection of poems and stories from the magazine’s first three years, was published in 2010 by Ellipsis Press, and new issues continue to appear twice a year at


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Weds, Mar 16: @ HALL OF RECORDS: Poets Julian T. Brolaski & Lisa Ciccarello

Hello PDX!

We have something very exciting coming next week: a one-off event at Hall of Records on Belmont. The Switch is honored to announce a visit & reading by Brooklyn poet Julian T. Brolaski,along with Portland poet Lisa Ciccarello.

All the info is below-- see you there!

Wednesday, March 16th
@ 6:30 - 8:00p.m.
Julian T. Brolaski
Lisa Ciccarello

3342 SE Belmont St.
Portland OR 97214

Julian T. Brolaski is the author of gowanus atropolis (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011) and the chapbooks Hellish Death Monsters (Spooky Press 2001), Letters to Hank Williams (True West Press 2003), The Daily Usonian (Atticus/Finch 2004), Madame Bovary’s Diary (Cy Press 2005) and A Buck in a Corridor (flynpyntar 2008). Brolaski’s second full length book, Advice for Lovers, is forthcoming from City Lights in spring 2012. Brolaski lives in Brooklyn where xe is an editor at Litmus Press, curates vaudeville shows and plays country music with Juan & the Pines ( New work is on the blog hermofwarsaw.


Lisa Ciccarello is the author of two chapbooks: At night (Scantily Clad Press, 2009), & At night, the dead (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Glitterpony, elimae, Anti-, Poor Claudia, Saltgrass, H_NGM_N, & Corduroy Mtn., among others.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sat., March 5th: Poets James Yeary & Lindsay Hill. Music by Justin Smith + Art (TBA)

Dear friends,

After a little break in February, we're excited to announce a reading by poets James Yeary and Lindsay Hill. Experimental composer Justin Smith will be providing musical entertainment on this evening, and featured artwork will be announced soon.

Thanks to all you fellow poets and curators for linking to the Switch blog as well. We'll keep you updated here with all upcoming events-- we have some very special things in the coming months!


Paul, Jeremy, & Allison

Saturday, March 5th
@ 6:00 p.m.
James Yeary
Lindsay Hill

+ Music by Justin Smith
Featured artwork (TBA)
BYO liquid refreshments
(we also usually have a keg!)

James Yeary is a poet and visual/performance artist living in Portland, Oregon. He is a member of the Spare Room collective for whom he recently organized The Maximus Poems Marathon, plus a festival of poetry for multiple voices. He is publisher of the chapbook series c_L books and is co-author (with Nate Orton) of the zine series my day. His work has appeared in ditch, Peaches & Bats, and SHIFTER.

Lindsay Hill was born in San Francisco and is a graduate of Bard College. His most recently published books are: The Empty Quarter and Contango (both from Singing Horse Press, San Diego). Recent work has appeared in Peaches & Bats, New American Writing, and Peep/Show poetry online: Lindsay lives in Portland with his wife, the painter Nita Hill.


Justin Smith is an experimental composer, based in Portland OR. He makes sounds so that the way you hear sounds in the future might change. He sees composition as a process of making things occur that without him would not have occurred. Frequently, Justin asks himself the question: "What is experimental today?"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Photos from the Maximus Marathon

MAXIMUS Day I of III, held @ The Switch

We'd like to send a thanks to all you champs who came out for the Charles Olson Maximus Marathon this month, and gratitude to all the readers.

The whole weekend was stellar. There was a nice preview writeup for The Switch from the Portland Mercury, as well, even though they were a little off... we hosted the kickoff, and the other two days were held at YU and Gallery Homeland. Here's the blog post, and a few pics after!

Dan Raphael & Laura Feldman reading the Maximus Poems

Christopher Luna & Zach Schomburg

James Yeary