Friday, November 22, 2013

Putnam & Schirmann 1/10 7:30 p.m. IPRC

From Singapore to PDX, they're coming to blast you off to a new year of poetry:

  C.E. Putnam     Kelly Schirmann

When: Friday, January 10, 2014, 7:30 pm FREE

Where: Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC), 1001 SE Division St., Portland

In 2012 C.E. Putnam’s back catalog was published by P.I.S.O.R Publications: The Papier-Mâché Taj Mahal (1997), XX Elegies (1998), Spaces Where Spaces Are (1999), Transmissions from the Institute (2000), Maniac Box (2001), Things Keep Happening (2003). He is also the co-author of Crawlspace (2007) with Daniel Comiskey. He has recently completed the first three years of a four-year posting as Poetry Attaché for P.I.S.O.R. (Putnam Institute for Space Opera Research) in Singapore, Singapore. His text, image, and Halloween themed mild-melting audio mashups (P.I.S.O.R. SCARES) are stored at: &

He’s going to be reading work from “The Bunny Manuscripts” (forthcoming).

Kelly Schirmann is an artist, musician, & poet living in Portland, Oregon. With Tyler Brewington, she is the co-author of NATURE MACHINE (Poor Claudia, 2013), & the singer for Young Family, whose EP King Cobra is forthcoming from Spork Press. 

She is also the founder of BLACK CAKE, a web-based record label for audio-chapbooks of poetry. You can find more of her poems, songs, collaborations, & visual art at

By C.E. Putnam:

Winding River

Drop of water to drop of water
dragonfly leisure and vagabond
buzz debt barging up river and down.
Thirty more years wearing flowered
shirts conversing with the bodies
they want. Add temporary
works: a knot of roots under
a parking lot, an egret in its egg
wondering what its wings are for.
But who is going to purchase that?
Subtract phase rewards: we must
write all our animals now. I revolve
in the gravity of spirits above
the sea electric with Napoleon
below on that prison island beating
the air, flightless and stupid. Red
cranes spoil the beaches, and then
my isolation feels so mechanical.
I am following a single water
bugs’ total circuit from truck bed
(10 PAX) to pink funnel to yellow
work boots. Lizards in the stairwell,
ants in the walls. There is a deep,
deep distance I feel it out there,
an internal ocean, tiding up beyond
any horizon. I need to see our planet
in the water, the white flower does
not stop going down. 

By Kelly Schirmann:


my letter to you was a mouth
& I want it propped open

I imagine you under
the planet I am under
so we have something to discuss

where your lovers went
when they discovered their aliveness still intact
is none of my business

I am under oath
to not sound so strange

when I feel strange
I put on black & start to whisper

when I speak
I am watching the sky
so it sounds like crying

I can't seem to focus
without essential oils
or my hand on your aura

once during a bad winter
I indexed cloud formations
until everything once more resembled
a great tattoo

I proclaimed this booth of ours
a winter booth
& you, mine

I felt for your knee
in the booth
& looked for something significant

feathers are found in the street
with startling regularity
& this helps me immensely

god said turn around
but it was a cruel joke

good one, god, I said
but the sun didn't set

when the moon came around
I confused it with our planet
& felt burned

when I couldn't help being in love with you
I walked down a long road
with a stick of dynamite

I wore a cheap dress
I imagined you complimenting

we can talk about the sun
now, I said
but nothing happened

just ghosts of me
loving my body
& not knowing anything else

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Beachy-Quick, Mellis, Teare 10/18 7:30 IPRC

The Switch is super excited to host three incredible writers:

Dan Beachy-Quick  *   Miranda Mellis  *  Brian Teare

When: Friday October 18, 7:30 pm FREE

Where: Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC), 1001 SE Division St., Portland

Dan Beachy-Quick is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Circle's Apprentice. He has also written a novel, An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky, and a study on Keats, A Brighter Word Than Bright. He teaches in the MFA Program at Colorado State University, where he is currently a Monfort Professor.

Miranda Mellis is the author of The Quarry (Trafficker Press, 2013); The Spokes (Solid Objects, 2012); None of This Is Real (Sidebrow Press, 2012); Materialisms (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2009); and The Revisionist (Calamari Press, 2007). With Tisa Bryant, she is an editor at The Encyclopedia Project, now in production on its final volume. She teaches at The Evergreen State College.

A former NEA Fellow, Brian Teare is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the American Antiquarian Society. He is the author of four books—The Room Where I Was Born, Sight Map, the Lambda Award-winning Pleasure, and Companion Grasses. He’s also published seven chapbooks, most recently Helplessness, [ black sun crown ], and SORE EROS. An Assistant Professor at Temple University, he lives in Philadelphia, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.

By Dan Beachy-Quick


sand and what is
sound, the nacre-sound,
this heart’s acre, bound, unbound
o irritant speck
all this dust you call clouds
all this doubt you found
just by thinking I am
not quite complete
ly alone o prism o prison
I thought the whole thought
mind the dirt holy ground

By Miranda Mellis


On YouTube there is a video of a three-year-old afraid of her own shadow. She stands with the sun behind her in the glare of a playground. When she moves, her shadow moves, and she weeps with fear. Every time she notices her shadow, she cries. Every time she cries, the audience laughs. Haplessly framed, voided, simulated, and reproduced, she tries to escape. But she can find no refuge from her evil twin or from the unseen audience. Trees’ wayward shadows lace crookedly, weaving disorder through the system of the playground. A nearby building’s shadow makes a large swathe whose edges demarcate a seeming interiority, a provisional indoor quality: It is colder just inside the wall of that shadow than it is just outside. The shadow of a small bird making its way over to a swing set is a film, a moving slant rhyme. A mimic, the shadow moves as the sparrow moves. Though the outline of the shadow, taken by itself, would not necessarily convey that it is cast by a bird (it could be a scrap of paper, or a teacup, or a hand), its movements are birdlike. The shadow is anamorphic, seemingly alive even.

Excerpted from "Misapprehensions: A Mobile in Ten Parts" by Miranda Mellis

By Brian Teare


an English-to-English translation of Shakespeare’s fortieth sonnet

Why turn a lover’s discourse into a discourse about debt? The sonnet begins with a complaint: if I’ve already given you all my money, my love, then I’ve given you my all. But sonnets and lovers depend on numbers. We tried to explain this to the credit card companies, but we were charged a late fee plus interest. Both poet and lover enumerate, count with their fingers: syllables, promises, both stressed and unstressed. We tried to explain this to the banks, but we were convicted of defiant trespassing and conspiracy. The success of writing a sonnet or of loving rests on neither being too idle about counting, nor too attached to the act of counting itself. We tried to explain this to the federal government, but our calls couldn’t get through. Such idleness might indicate a lack of ardor or insufficient intellectual engagement; over-investment in the numbers might indicate a lack of trust or insufficient imagination. We tried to explain this to the White House, but the woman on the 27 bus told us: “He thinks dick is stronger than money, but we know money is stronger than dick.” A good writer or lover knows the true value of what they’re counting, but debt begins when the beloved says, “What you have given me is not enough.” A few of us began to protest. “Poverty is something money can’t buy,” Joanne says. The sonnet’s complaint continues: I’ve given you all I had, and now you want more. What am I supposed to do? Some of us kept working three jobs and making payments on time. This is an example of what the literary critic calls “the masochism of the abjectness of love.” Some of us who later joined the occupation were taking out student loans or were still unemployed or had lost homes to foreclosure. Such theft can only be forgiven when debt is a lover’s playful fiction, an accounting that amounts to nothing spent but wit. Some of us were vets unable to get proper psychiatric care; some of us had lost access to medical treatments our health depended on. When poverty is literal and persistent, it’s an injury we learn to live with without forgiveness. The sonnet goes on to argue something like: the problem with numbers is that when we have plentitude, we tend to forget the experience of lack or find it threatening. National networks send us images of violent confrontations; from Oakland Miranda and Eirik send us images of peaceful actions; Brenda reminds us “we are agents for something greater than ourselves.” The problem with the ones obsessed with numbers above all else is that counting offers endless labor that replaces all other activities. Counting confers an illusion of value when in reality it is by itself all but worthless. On the train beneath Wall Street, a sleek pinstriped financier falls asleep with his youthful cheek pressed against my shoulder. It confers an illusion of total order when in reality the one who counts has had to forget their knowledge of everything between us that can’t be converted to currency. Under rush hour fluorescence I see beneath his jaw a patch of stubble his morning razor missed; I see his grip on his leather briefcase slowly slacken. The concluding couplet makes a concessionary gesture: because of the contradiction alive in everything, I see it will be necessary to love the ones who don’t yet know how gravely they have wounded us, if only because soon their dream will stop, the doors will open and they will wake up in our arms. 

1001 SE Division St

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Brolaski, Koeneke & Mohammed 9/13 7:30 pm Stumptown Division

Please join the Switch for a special Friday the 13th reading with Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Rodney Koeneke and K. Silem Mohammad. 

When: September 13, 7:30 pm

Where: Stumptown, 4525 SE Division Street

Julian Talamantez Brolaski is the author of Advice for Lovers (City Lights 2012), gowanus atropolis (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011) and co-editor of NO GENDER: Reflections on the Life & Work of kari edwards (Litmus Press / Belladonna Books 2009).  Julian lives in Brooklyn where xe is an editor at Litmus Press and plays country music with Juan & the Pines. New work is on the blog hermofwarsaw.

Rodney Koeneke is author of the poetry collections Etruria (forthcoming from Wave Books April 2014), Musee Mechanique (BlazeVOX, 2006), and Rouge State (Pavement Saw, 2003), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, along with several chapbooks. An early member of the Flarf Collective, he was involved with Poets Theater and Neo-Benshi events in the San Francisco Bay Area until 2006, when he moved to Portland, Oregon where he currently lives, writes, and teaches British and World History at Portland State University.

K. Silem Mohammad is the author of several books of poetry, including Deer Head Nation (Tougher Disguises Press, 2003), Breathalyzer (Edge Books, 2008), and The Front (Roof Books, 2009). He is a professor of English and Writing at Southern Oregon University.

By Julian Talamantez Brolaski:

horse vision

clock reads 7 at all hours
juncos make selves known in the snow
this time dawdling
I write in horse, but I see in athabaskan
when it’s time for elevensies, the clock reads 7
what telling fortune therewith
time is a thing that gets spent, like youth, $ and desire
n/t so lovely as a cardinal against the snow
or a tree w/ fruit on it
by the time I have ceased to write this
it will already be 7
adjourned to the park
n/thing will come of n/t
starfish creak inna wood
lurid amulet    w/ a fish onnit
sign reads SEVEN all day & at all hours
the dogs curse each other from afar
in dog language
when did the word corrupt begin to take on a moral cast?
horses see in wide angle, and have a much wider periphery than humans,
but with a blind spot in the very center
so if you want to be sympathtic to a horse say sucks
about those blinders
or if you want to make fun of a horse, tell them
they can’t even see whats in front of their face

By Rodney Koeneke

young historian’s scoring rubric

It’s why we have opium—to blaze

and nod on a scale whose pain

is my thesis forgot in a mesh

of working parts. To follow sirens

until they are enclosed by fellahin,

agree to record them, dye them cerulean

while rewriting their papers

in excellent grammar—they paid

for those papers, paper cites directly

a chant one once directed at the Sun.

Analysis is solid, and done

in a historical way, but free

from all history, balloons

on a tether with girl in a picture,

primary evidence let fly away.

By K. Silem Mohammed


my friend the tax lawyer is licking his lips
his comment is one of the many, of the crowd
—Jesus, I deserve to be free!

he is a soldier and a liberator
behind the wheel of a big car

down the street it seems
to go like a ray of light

manufactured by the system
and spread via all means
I don’t even know what game

for all the objects
here in the darkness surrounded by filth

there are many more masses
in the form of people walking around
going fast through the alternating banks

the shadowy giants finally catch up

the story was that we make the monsters
these goddamn things and then it’s goodbye

Monday, August 12, 2013

Erika Staiti & Paul Maziar 8/15 7 pm

Special one-off Switch reading! Erika Staiti is in town from Oakland, and we are happy to host her for a reading Thursday 8/15 at 7 pm at Warehouse 640 on 640 SE Stark Street. She'll be joined by the Switch's own Paul Maziar, reading from his new manuscript Pneumatics.

Erika Staiti is author of the chapbooks In the Stitches published by Trafficker Press in 2010 and Verse/Switch and Stop-Motion in 2008. Recent work appears in OMG, SAGINAW, Mrs. Maybe, and forthcoming in Dusie.

See her work at


Paul Maziar will read from his new manuscript, Pneumatics. He once self-published a book of poems, Last Light of Day printed by Publication Studio in 2010, and his book of spontaneous prose, What it is: What it is was published by Writebloody in '08. Both are out of print. Some poems can be found in Pataphysics and Peaches & Bats.

His drawings can be found here, among many images and things he has stumbled upon:

By Erika Staiti (published in La Fovea,

Excerpt I: The Planned Experiment

The room downstairs is covered with sheets of plastic. There are statues in the corners made of glass. Every object in the room is bright and reflecting off of itself. The far wall is covered with disintegrating parchment - an old map of the world panning across it. The names of places that no longer exist are echoing across the room, bouncing off walls, getting trapped in corners, escaping out of slightly opened windows. A birdcage hangs at eye level. Stacks of newspapers sit on a dark wooden table that is not used for eating. Altitudes transition throughout the day. Subjects alter their perceptions. Overhead lights in the movie theater dim slowly.


We are in a place ruled by mobs of conflicting desires. We slither through the people and smash into them. We wander among them as if they are statues. They are miming the selves they want to be rather than being the selves that they are. We tune the receptors in the creases between our heads and our necks. We mimic ourselves when angry and we mimic ourselves when sweet. We sleep with our arms around the weather as smog collects before rolling into the beginning of the next day. We call upon ourselves to keep pace. There are too many days to take into account but we keep accounting counting turning. They want to swallow us to fill their selves. We stand by. We watch them swallow each other. Filling the innards.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kaia Sand & Maged Zaher 8/9 Hazel Room 7 pm

The Switch is very happy to host a reading by Portland's Kaia Sand and Maged Zaher from Seattle on Friday, August 9 at 7 p.m. at the Hazel Room and Mag-Big, 3279 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

Maged Zaher is the author of THANK YOU FOR THE WINDOW OFFICE (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), THE REVOLUTION HAPPENED AND YOU DIDN'T CALL ME (Tinfish Press, 2012), and PORTRAIT OF THE POET AS AN ENGINEER (Pressed Wafer, 2009). His collaborative work with the Australian poet Pam Brown, FAROUT LIBRARY SOFTWARE, was published by Tinfish Press in 2007.

His translations of contemporary Egyptian poetry have appeared in Jacket magazine, Banipal, and Denver Quarterly. He has performed his work at Subtext, Bumbershoot, the Kootenay School of Writing, St. Marks Project, Evergreen State College, and The American University in Cairo.

Kaia Sand is currently artist-in-residence with Garrick Imatani at the Portland Archives and Records Center, a City of Portland Percent for Art Project managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. They are creating the Watcher Files Project through working with police surveillance files of activist groups in the 1960s, 70s, and early 80s. Over the next year, they will create a participatory cabinet as well as a subscription book called Looseleaf Service. (Visit for more information.)

Kaia is the author of the poetry collections, interval (Edge Books 2004), a Small Press Traffic book of the year; and Remember to Wave (Tinfish Books 2010), a book that was also a walk Sand led exploring the political history and present goings-on around the Portland Expo Center. With Jules Boykoff, she co-authored Landscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry and Public Space. With magician and whistler Mitch Hider, she wrote and performed a magic show about the financial collapse, A Tale of Magicians Who Puffed Up Money that Lost its Puff; the text is now a chapbook (Above Ground Press 2013). This spring, her poems were anthologized in Kindergarde (Black Radish 2013) and Alive at the Center (Ooligan Press 2013). She is poet-in-residence at the Portland State University Honors Program.

The Hazel Room offers gourmet sandwiches and salads and specializes in a unique menu of alcoholic tea & coffee cocktails as well as some of the classics. They offer absinthe, wines, beers and cordials. The restaurant is named in honor of the co-owner's great grandmother, who ran a tea house/speakeasy during prohibition. Mag-Big is a retail shop for local artists and designers, a hub for artists of all sorts to bring their work into conversation. The concept of Mag-Big is a singular Portlandian paradigm of supporting local and taking pride in small scale, independent operations.

Monday, March 4, 2013

3/31 at 6:30 p.m.: Poets James Yeary & Chris Ashby; Live Drawing by Nate Orton; Music by Kris Doty & Jenny Logan

We're thrilled to announce a celebration and performance: Sunday, March 31 at the IPRC at 6:30 p.m. (1001 SE Division.) for the launch of My Day #23, by visual artist Nate Orton; along with poets James Yeary and Chris Ashby. Nate will create visual art while the poets read works from My Day. Kris Doty and Jenny Logan will round out the evening with some music. This will be very exciting, please join us!

MY DAY was started by Nate Orton after he moved to Portland from rural Idaho almost a decade ago. He was frustrated with how large his new city felt to him, as he was familiar with every square inch of his previous town. Through line drawings, he created a visual catalog of major and minor places and events in Portland that would help him become better acclimated to the city. It worked. MY DAY on the MAX was completed as an edition of 35 Xerox copies. Much to Nate’s surprise, they sold fast. Another Idaho transplant Chris Ashby joined to write for MY DAY on the Burnside Bridge and Lloyd Center. Yet another Idaho transplant and writer James Yeary joined to help create MY DAY at Chopsticks Karaoke Bar.

Sometime after MY DAY at Chopsticks, James and Nate decided to walk across Portland metro. The first walk was turned into the book, MY DAY walking across Gresham, the second across Portland, the third across Beaverton and so on. They are currently at the Eastern edge of the Costal range with plans to make it to the ocean. MY DAY #23, Blazers vs. Thunder was released in February with both James and Chris contributing. Nate has plans to continue this project until he reaches issue 100. 

Chris Ashby is a poet, student, and musician. 2013 will see the second edition of his chapbook, The Return, a serial poem of transitional objections about what it means to read today. Also forthcoming in 2013 is the book length, but still rather short poem, Notes from the Raft. Recent publications include work in c_l Newsletter and Peaches and Bats 9. He has been collaborating with Nate Orton for over ten years on artist books and placed based poetic projects, most recently on the My Day series. This winter he began the small publishing venture (Couch Press) in order to publish local poets: Spring 2013 will see the release of Dawn’s Erasure (1) by fellow Portland poet and My Day collaborator James Yeary. He writes and works mostly outside.    

James Yeary is a member of the spare room reading series, the artist and writer collaborative inquiry 13 Hats, and the IPRC. He has chapbooks out from Couch Press, Hank's Original Loose Gravel, editions plane, and inkhorn. Visual work recently appeared in the Fantagraphics anthology the Last Vispo: visual poetry 1998-2008. A video recently appeared at He publishes work by many, many writers under the imprint c_L, see He is very excited to be reading, finally, at the IPRC, his dome away from dome.

Multi-instrumentalist Kris Doty has been playing music and touring for nearly two decades. She cut her teeth in the high deserts of Idaho and debuted her first solo record, Smoke in the Mirror, on her own dime; to immediate success. The album took nine solid months to record. It's full of pop-sensible indie rock with moody undertones and hints of Doty's jazz and classical music interests. John McMahon (Built to Spill) added to the moodier moments of Smoke with his cello and bass playing, while being its producer as well. Kris studied music at an early age, playing the bass which would become her main instrument (stand-up and electric) in her longstanding engagement with Portland OR band Drew Grow & The Pastors' Wives. Most recently; with DGPW, she toured the country with Merge Records band Wild Flag, and Sub Pop's The Head and The Heart. With Grow and company having completed their sophomore album, Kris is busy working on her sophomore release and the formation of a new band.