Mountain Writers Series






    This post from Lex Runciman about an upcoming virtual reading.


    Thanks to Emmett Wheatfall and the Franciscan Spiritual Center Paulann Petersen and I have been invited to be part of "The World We Live In: Poetic Reflections."


    This 7 pm program on Sunday, April 25th will feature 15 minute readings by Emmett, Paulann, and me in celebration of National Poetry Month. 


    Please join us that evening to celebrate the very particular, the very universal, pleasures of poetry!


    You can register for this Zoomcast at this link:


    We hope to be with you via the Zoom-ethers that evening!



    This post from John Brehm about a podcast and upcoming talk on Friday, April 23, at 7:00 PM:


    I hope you’re enjoying the spring and the wonder of life reemerging after a very difficult winter. 

    I wanted to let you know about a podcast I did with Daniel Aitken, the publisher and CEO of Wisdom Publications. We had a very rich and lively conversation about poetry and spiritual practice and my new book of essays, The Dharma of Poetry. 

    I'll also be giving a talk on The Dharma of Poetry on Friday, April 23rd, at 7:00 pm Pacific Time for Annie Bloom's Books. You can register here

    I hope you can listen in!

    Best wishes,






AWP 2019 - Portland OR

Celebrating 45 years of serving the literary community


In March 2019, Mountain Writers Series hosted two events at the AWP Conference in Portland. The first all-day, off-site event (11 AM - 10 PM) featured 28 poets and writers paying tribute to over two dozen Mountain Writers Series "alumni" readers from the past 45 years. There were three special tributes recognizing former Oregon Poet Laureate Peter Sears; award-winning author and poet, Denis Johnson; prize-winning poets W. S. Merwin and Donald Hall. Others among those recognized were Oregon authors Katherine Dunn, Ursula K. Le Guin and Vern Rutsala; Nobel Laureates Czeslaw Milosz and Derek Walcott; and a dozen other recipients of Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards and more. This event celebrated 45 years of programming and serving the literary community in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Mountain Writers also presented a panel at the AWP Conference at the Oregon Convention Center: "Mountain Writers Center: A Non-Profit Model," featuring a panel that included Michael Dickman, Jennifer Grotz, Dorianne Laux, and Joseph Millar. The panel detailed the decade that Mountain Writers Center operated in SE Portland: "After twenty years of building a regional network, in 1993, Mountain Writers opened the first writer’s center in Oregon, immediately increasing funding for NW literary activity—readings, workshops, craft talks—featuring acclaimed poets and writers: Bei Dao, Lucille Clifton, Billy Collins, Mark Doty, David James Duncan, Jack Gilbert, Yusef Komunyakaa, Denise Levertov, Louis Simpson, James Tate, C.K. Williams, and hundreds more. Former Center staff, faculty, and students discussed the impact."






In October 2010, Oregon Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen, gave the following opening remarks as introduction to the events on the Mountain Writers Series stages for Wordstock 2010. 

Remarks at the Opening of Wordstock, 2010

It’s a delight and an honor to help launch the Mountain Writers’ readings at Wordstock 2010. Two stages. Two days. Sixty writers. Remarkable.

Mountain Writers has been a fixture at Wordstock since its inception. Over 300 writers have appeared on the Wordstock Mountain Writers stages since 2005, and Mountain Writers has been the force establishing and sustaining poetry’s presence at this festival. For that, I give particular thanks to the entire Mountain Writers’ board of directors and staff.

Orchestrating over 60 writers on two stages for two days is a formidable undertaking. But it’s only one of Mountain Writers’ ongoing programs. Mountain Writers sponsors the monthly Press Club readings on Clinton Street in Southeast Portland. Third Wednesdays. Mountain Writers offers the bi-annual Columbia Gorge Writers’ Conference, which—in June of 2011—will feature on its faculty Annick Smith, William Kittredge, Barbara Drake, Vern Rutsala, and Gerald Costanza. And that’s only what MW is doing currently.

Established in 1973, Mountain Writers has spent 37 years enriching our region with visits, readings, and workshops by many of the world’s finest writers. The list of writers who have given readings and workshops and talks under the aegis of Mountain Writers and its partners includes W.S. Merwin, Rita Dove, Sherman Alexie, Lucille Clifton, Czeslaw Milosz, Jamaica Kincaid, Charles Simic, and Derek Walcott. The whole list is hundreds of names long.

I took workshops led by Sharon Olds, Martin Espada, and Carolyn Forché, thanks to Mountain Writers. I heard C. K. Williams, Eavan Boland, Jane Hirschfield, and Galway Kinnell give readings, thanks to Mountain Writers. My West Linn High School creative writing students had workshops led by Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, Agha Shahid Ali, and Cornelius Eady, thanks to Mountain Writers.

For decades, through its Northwest Regional Residencies Program, Mountain Writers toured stellar writers through Oregon and Washington. For years, Mountain Writers opened the doors of its Center (on Milwaukie Boulevard, in Portland), inviting the public to readings, workshops and gatherings.

Am I listing all of MW accomplishments? No. I’ve mentioned only a fraction of them. The 37 years of Mountain Writers’ existence hold a remarkable variety and number of programs. But there is one constant in the Mountain Writers’ story. 

Sandra Williams.

Sandra founded Mountain Writers in 1973. She’s been, all along, its sustaining force, its guiding vision. What our community of readers and writers owes to Sandra Williams is immeasurable. Offering Sandra our praise and gratitude today is a pleasure.

                                                                                               —Paulann Petersen


Link to Donation RequestConsider Mountain Writers Series for Charitable Giving

Please consider Mountain Writers Series for a tax-deductible contribution. We appreciate whatever gift you can make.



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In Memoriam

Agha Shahid Ali 1949 - 2001

Lois Baker 1928 - 2016

Marvin Bell 1937 - 2020

Eavan Boland 1944 - 2020

Lennart Bruce 1919 - 2002

Jack Cady 1932 - 2004

Hayden Carruth 1921 - 2008

Lucille Clifton 1936 - 2010

Tom Crawford 1939 - 2018

Robert Dana 1929 - 2010

Madeline DeFrees 1919 - 2015

Brian Doyle 1957 - 2017

Robert Duncan 1919 - 1988

Katherine Dunn 1945 - 2016

Stephen Dunn 1939 - 2021

William Everson 1912 - 1994

Lawrence Ferlinghetti 1919 - 2021

James Fleming 1924 - 2017

Marilyn Folkestad 1927 - 2002

Kathleen Fraser 1935 - 2019

Jane Glazer 1925 - 2017

Patricia Goedicke 1931 - 2006

Linda Gregg 1942 - 2019

Thom Gunn 1929 - 2003

Donald Hall 1928 - 2018

Kenneth O. Hanson 1922 - 2003

Ehud Havazelet 1955 - 2015

Geoffrey Hill 1932 - 2016

Tony Hoagland 1953 - 2018

Richard Hugo 1923 - 1982

Denis Johnson 1949 - 2017

Donald Justice 1925 - 2004

Galway Kinnell 1927 - 2014

William Kittredge 1932-2020

Carolyn Kizer 1925 - 2014

Bill Knott 1940 - 2014

Maxine Kumin 1925 - 2014

Ursula K. Le Guin 1929 - 2018

Philip Levine 1928 - 2015

Morton Marcus 1936- 2009

Vaughn Marlowe 1931 - 2017

Irene McKinney 1939 - 2012

Lisel Mueller 1924 - 2020

Czeslaw Milosz 1911 - 2004

Richard Murphy 1927 - 2018

Raymond Patterson 1929 - 2001

Walter Pavlich 1955 - 2002

Lucia Perillo 1958 - 2016

Judith Root 1939 - 2020

Vern Rutsala 1934 - 2014

Ralph Salisbury 1926 - 2017

Dennis Schmitz 1937 - 2019

Peter Sears 1937 - 2017

Jon Silkin 1930 - 1997

Joseph Soldati 1939 - 2019

William Stafford 1914 - 1993

Mark Strand 1934 - 2014

Ronald G. Talney 1936 - 2019

James Tate 1943 - 2015

Steve Tyler 1942 - 2020

Derek Walcott 1930 - 2017

James Welch 1940 - 2003

C. K. Williams 1936 - 2015

Al Young 1939 - 2021



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