Monday, November 26, 2012

12/15: Gary Sullivan & Drew Swenhaugen @ IPRC

Hello PDX! We are thrilled to announce our next event: Saturday, December 15th, at 7 p.m. at the IPRC (1001 SE Division St.)
Poet and cartoonist Gary Sullivan has been translating the work of Austrian schizophrenic Ernst Herbeck for the last 10 years--a side project to the polarizing flarf movement that he gave name to in 2001. Everyone Has a Mouth, a selection of more than two dozen of his translations of Herbeck's poems, was published earlier this year by Ugly Duckling Presse. He writes about immigrant culture for and international music at
Drew Scott Swenhaugen was born in Minnesota. He is editor of the chapbook press Poor Claudia, contributes in book design for Octopus Books, and co-curates the Bad Blood Reading Series in Portland. Occasionally he contributes to the Tin House blog as well as the The Volta, a website of contemporary poetics. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in places like ShampooWeekdayRedividerLungfull! among others. He is an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and cannot wait for the multitude of job choices he will have to choose from after his degree is completed.

The Rhino.
by Ernst Herbeck, trans. by Gary Sullivan

The rhino is completely quiet in the woods.
The nose on high and does also
                            cause such pain.
That always causes such pain and does usually
                            does not hurt.
more than the animal so huge is it also
the rhino is a huge animal.
The rhino in the woods.
so jagged is the rhinoceros
and yet so fine.

from LIFEY
by Drew Swenhaugen

I’m going to go whistling on by this time. No touching
everything in my path. Not this time.
You can call me homey, although it sounds like you called me
homeless, which is fine. I don’t mind if we portray me like that.
You are not too good for your home, which you should not be ashamed of,
not in the least. I like that in you, which makes me leave mine.
The fact that you call me homey is determinant upon another fact : 
that I am no longer a close emotional or sexual companion to you,
which is also fine. I guess it’s fine. I’ll act like it’s fine for you.
But when I go whistling along, and you ask what’s up homey,
you must expect me to keep walking, or else I’ll stop
to realize that every single moment has been in vain.
If you tell me to keep walking, I’ll say okey dokey.
And when the rain comes, I’ll pray that the rain forgets
that it’s actually rain. Which is also fine this time, I now must say.
Although I wish I had a jacket, if it’s going to keep raining like this.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dana Ward & Michael Roberts 11/1 7:30 pm Suzette

The Switch is excited to host Dana Ward and Michael Roberts Thursday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. sharp (sharp) at Suzette, 3342 SE Belmont.

Dana Ward is the author of This Can’t Be Life (Edge Books). Two new books are coming out in 2012, one from Futurepoem Books, entitled The Crisis of Infinite Worlds, and another, as yet untitled, from Flowers & Cream. He lives in Cincinnati where he runs the Cy Press Poetry @ Thunder Sky reading series and works as an advocate for adult literacy at the Over-The-Rhine Learning Center.

Michael Roberts was born in the small seaport town of Newport on  December 7th and again a year later in February. Roberts attended a school for simple wooden machines with human features in his hometown and later attended the local grammar school when his father went bankrupt and moved the family to Moscow. Roberts, only 16 at the time, decided to remain in his hometown and supported himself by tutoring as he continued his schooling for 10 more years. In 1987 he began to enjoy some small notoriety as a writer with small poems appearing in various papers, including Peterburskaia gazeta from 1987, and Novoe vremia from 1988. Roberts also published 2 full-length taffeta prom dresses and 2 small jewel-like blemishes above his right eye during this time, one of which was translated into Polish in 1990. This seems to have been the turning point. Interest in poetry grew to such fervor in the subsequent 12 months that in 1991 Roberts was abducted in a “black” operation and borne secretly to Oregon where he would spend the next 10 years composing surrealist poetry for the American Space Program. In 2012, an amnesty was granted for artists working under the umbrella of “Celestial Mechanics”, which brought him to Portland at last. Today he divides his time between writing and the perfection of the Fish Stick, his favorite dish.

I Live in a Castle
by Michael Roberts

Leave a note for yourself in the big room
so you'll know what not to do
you think you're reframing a mystery

What emotion has been encapsulated?
on a day like today whatever she felt wasn't fear
not commercial fear anyway

Here she is
mind-blowingly empty
or just blowingly

Like the gods
we're only human
in direct sunlight

So we're off to slave labor
our semipermeable minds a curious shade of blue
blue of the ragtag sea

Surrounded by masters
imaging each other as something
other than a slave

Someone else
who said the big room exists
but I don't recall any note

You could practically be loved
I wave
you wave back

You're right
Sicily is beautiful in winter
you describe the sky to someone else

Willows on Fire
by Dana Ward

The summer night
is like a perfection of thought & Patron
a perfection of that.

So the difference between Patron
& water is that clear Sarah looks to see
her eyes through all that's left--

the image of the structure
on fire hung up in the structure is pillow talk
the thing that gets me hottest

as Willow on fire with grief
found the necessary callousness to call
the doe from nowhere out of trees

then slit its softish throat
for young blood. She loved herself
far too much to ever suffer

Buffy’s corpse in the soft agave
ground, & running water from the tap
the fucking mystery of feeling & the weirdness of sensation

where Brechtian surgical lamps
incandesce with the power smiles pushing
through blush in French painting

to light the indelible candy
this rookery yields like our lives to plainly
death as if we knew from economics.

Oh god why am I so upset
by the mildew all over this copy of ‘Motherless
Brooklyn’ is there something

growing sundial feelings washing up
on the nano-reef here at our faucet
a ribbony Mao Molly brought from Beijing

hangs beneath this kitsch ceramic clock
where an angel guards the face of a cloud
frozen up & correct

twice a day semblance of injurious perfection
it is so much like water
when it stagnates in the heart.

It makes a living culture
when the lab-work comes back
it's as if instead they tested lake of fire.

Willow’s love for Buffy though
will always be more real
than anything we’ll ever feel

between us, in credulous bodies
there’s nothing like the lively despair
of Willow’s spell? We’ll never see

its sacrificial, self-regarding picture
if we give our sails to one another well
send the body of our lover

in a vessel of pure disbelief
at their loss that stays impossible, we leave
one another inside us over rivers

dying in its commons, & heaven
an imageless pacification that engines
all the images fails.

For Buffy this anodyne nowhere
flowing with saccharine prescience
made her hate tap water then

once Willow brought her back
from the total Patron of the corporeal end.
They show her standing there hand under the faucet

thinking with this blank expression
to herself & staring where to time that's hard to tell I think
she's thinking fuck their hapless, fearsome care that brought me back

Sunday, September 16, 2012

David Mutschlecner & Endi Bogue Hartigan Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.

The Switch is happy to feature poets David Mutschlecner from Los Alamos, NM, and Portland's Endi Bogue Hartigan on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. sharp at the wonderful Division Leap bookstore, 211 SW 9th Ave, Portland, OR.

Endi Bogue Hartigan is the author of One Sun Storm, which was selected for the 2008 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and a chapbook out of the flowering ribs in collaboration with artist Linda Hutchins, which will be out this fall. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Verse, Volt, Chicago Review, Pleiades, Peep/Show, LVNG, and other journals. With a collective of poets she co-curates the Spare Room reading series, and she is a member of the collaborative group 13 Hats. She lives in Portland with her husband poet Patrick Playter Hartigan and their son.

David Mutschlecner is the author of four books of poetry, including Sign and Enigma and Light, both published by Ahsahta press.  Recently, he has had work in New American Writing.  Mutschlecner’s work explores theopoetics, where poetry enters the realm of theology as a nondogmatic light, where theology casts its own color upon poetry.  Mutschlecner hopes that if both are poured out, one for the other, perhaps a new kenosis is accomplished.  The poet lives and works in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

By Endi Bogue Hartigan:

All night long
one thunderclap

Love and the demolished lot

the old St. Francis building bulldozed up
today, the last of its rubble

All night long the birth
of a child

All day long
the birth of a child

one thunderclap

& gifts to wrap
with white bows

From One Sun Storm, Center for Literary Publishing, Colorado State University, 2008.

By David Mutschlecner:

I feel thy finger and find thee
touching the flute hole in my head,
the worm hole in my heart,

God shaped,
that riffs itself, coiling
into the music of some other sphere.

Come at Christmas,
come at Easter,
pinwheeled to and from my need.

From “Enigma and Light in Every Relation, II”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

July 16, John Beer & Rodney Koeneke: The Switch Under Sky @ Director Park

On Monday, July 16th, The Switch will host our second Director Park Summer reading. Poets John Beer and Rodney Koeneke will read, and the event commences from 6:30-8:30 p.m., downtown at 815 SW Park Ave.  

Rodney Koeneke is author of the poetry books Musee Mechanique, Rouge State, and a chapbook, Rules for Drinking Forties. His work has appeared in Aufgabe, Beloit Poetry Journal, Jacket, New American Writing, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Portland Review, The Nation, and ZYZZYVA, among others. Hobbies past and present include flarf, neo-benshi, and Poets Theater. He currently makes his living as a historian in Portland.

John Beer is the author of The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium, 2010). A longtime Chicago resident, he moved to Portland in the summer of 2011 to begin teaching in Portland State University's MFA program in creative writing. He is currently at work on a booklength fake translation of Friedrich Schlegel's 1799 novel Lucinde.


he runs mac ‘n’ cheese through a coffee cone

I run mac ‘n’ cheese through a coffee cone
but make no special shout-out to irrelevance
it’s Thursday and my boy’s gone
ants slip across a countertop
tonight I’m my own reason
for registering objects onto life
stars, go be the spangles
in someone else’s dancehall
a simulacrum of collective action
insensate at this distance
while it can be bright for someone
tonight I’m my own Dresden
with the fires, and the pen that writes it down

           by Rodney Koeneke


The thrash determines a maximal rate
spilling your liquid soliloquy
into pathways your friends recognize
muscular, not envisioning a sequence

until Jasper pipes up, unfortunate crooner
doomed to synthesize approximate voice
that we in the bleachers sort of pine for
until love becomes ventroliquism

I didn’t mean for it to end this way
bodies on the fence, a swinging ceremony
lionized as “the godfather of lyric”
until a nearby truck unloads our vegetables

hey you sitting on your neighbor’s porch
something set the planets in their motion
while I keep recommending the wrong book
the painter grinds her powder, desolate

the sun until it hands off godliness
to a distracted order called the day
or what we made of it, a bird that falls
toward ground that even faster falls away.

           by John Beer

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 7 p.m. Sam Lohmann and Linda Russo

Sam Lohmann is the author of Stand on this picnic bench and look north (Publication Studio, 2011) and several chapbooks. He edits the poetry fanzine Peaches and Bats, coedits Airfoil chapbooks with David Abel, and is one of the organizers of the Spare Room reading series. He lives in Portland, teaches preschool and attends librarian school.

 Linda Russo is the author of Mirth (Chax Press) and the recipient of fellowships at the Centrum Center for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Millay Colony. Her essay "Precious, Rare, and Mundane" is the preface to Joanne Kyger's About Now: Collected Poems (National Poetry Foundation). She currently lives in the Columbia River Watershed, tending her community garden vegetable patch and teaching at Washington State University.

By Sam Lohmann:

(from Shake Well)
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Cancel day
& wreak delite—
A burlap boxkite
diary instead—installed
with respect to the dead
stall in the skip
to hear the dust
hum the thin black letters

. . . . . . . . .

Can you hear the harbor going flat
Rotten odds dilute the timbre
Basic black all down the line
to spite description
A ritual shucking
Someone wrote
on a cardboard box

. . . . . . . . .

Our hands can’t share a shadow
much less open a building
Crying restarts the video game
“Glow-in-the-Dark Nite Thoughts”
this time slightly fuzzier
that potion is your last life
extended in a perfect cartwheel
towards the dead
& I’m totally winning

By Linda Russo:


flight call is a sharp, distinctive plick
            what is happiness?
driven out into the rain, not an ordinary rain
but the rain of unselfconsciousness
     studded with letters of introduction

I am thus connected, the human right or rite
     of many centuries, a spectacle
which seems to be in conflict

            the call is a short crisp chip rich with possibility

I react to people one way
     but I could react that way

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saturday, March 31, art show at 5 p.m., reading at 6:30: Ally Harris, Louise Nayer, Alexandra Teague

Before the reading, the artists of the Switchyard Studios will be showing their work. Come enjoy some snacks and drinks and check out the art!

Louise Nayer has written two poetry collections, Keeping Watch (with funding from the NEA), The Houses are Covered in Sound and co-authored How to Bury a Goldfish. Burned: A Memoir was endorsed by Isabel Allende and the late Robert Creeley. The book was a finalist for the USA Book News Award, won the Wisconsin Library Association book award for 2011 and was listed in O Magazine. She is a retired Professor of English and Creative Writing at City College of San Francisco.

Alexandra Teague is the author of Mortal Geography (Persea 2010), winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and the 2010 California Book Award. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in FIELD, Slate, The Seattle Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. She is Assistant Professor of Poetry at University of Idaho and an editor for Broadsided Press.

Ally Harris is the author of a chapbook of poems called Floor Baby, published by Dancing Girl Press. You can find other poems of hers at Agriculture Reader, Propeller Mag, interrupture, Poor Claudia, and Tarpaulin Sky's Chronic Content. She got her MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop and currently lives in Portland, OR where she flips pizzas and tutors traditionally underrepresented youth at Student Alliance Project. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 7 p.m.: Poets Alicia Cohen and E. Tracy Grinnell | Music by Jen Daunt and Kate Howser of Axton Kincaid! | Artwork by Julie Costanzo


In addition to writing poetry and criticism Alicia Cohen has shown work in the visual and performance arts, including a gallery installation and poem-opera entitled Northwest Inhabitation Log.  Her first collection of poems, Bear, was published by Handwritten Press (2000) and Debts and Obligations from O Books (2009) was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.  Her poetry has been published in, among others, Ecopoetics, Spectaculum, The Cultural Society, and LVNG, as well as the anthologies War and Peace and Salt: poetry on the Oregon Coast.  She has written on the work of Emily Dickinson, Jack Spicer, Andy Goldsworthy, Leslie Scalapino and others. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and has taught literature at Reed College and Portland State University. 

E. Tracy Grinnell is the author of Helen: A Fugue (Belladonna Elder Series #1, 2008), Some Clear Souvenir (O Books, 2006), and Music or Forgetting (O Books, 2001), as well as the limited edition chapbooks Mirrorly, A Window (flynpyntar press, 2009), Leukadia (Trafficker Press, 2008),  Hell and Lower Evil (Lyre Lyre Pants on Fire, 2008), Humoresque (Blood Pudding/Dusie #3, 2008) Quadriga, a collaboration with Paul Foster Johnson (gong chapbooks, 2006), Of the Frame (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2004), and Harmonics (Melodeon Poetry Systems, 2000). Her poetry has been translated into French, Serbian, and Portuguese. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the founding editor and director of Litmus Press.

Axton Kincaid is a modern country band passed though the filters of Tom Waits, Neko Case, Calexico and even The Stone Roses (whose song, "I Want To Be Adored" they covered to great effect on their first record), while retaining the genre's tradition of three- and four-part harmonies to tell their stories of misspent youth, D-I-V-O-R-C-E and the pleasures and pitfalls of drowning your sorrows.