Mountain Writers Series

Readings, Lectures & Special Events

You can purchase tickets for our Mountain Writers Series readings in advance on our Register page. Please bring your confirmation of payment email with you to serve as your ticket.

August 2014


Mountain Writers recommends:

THE NARRATIVE IMPULSE:  An Evening of Visual Art, Writing and Readings

Sunday, August 17, 2014, 5:00-7:00 pm ~ Blackfish Gallery

Light refreshments.  Free and open to the public

Join a discussion of narrative—visual vs written—with artist Ellen Goldschmidt and writer Merridawn Duckler, plus open mic readings of stories and poems inspired by Goldschmidt’s exhibition.

We invite writers of all experience levels and ages to visit Blackfish between

August 5-17 to spend time with our August show, Interlopers: Unintended Narratives, and compose a piece of prose, fiction or poetry in response to one or more image. 

The work on view consists of large- and medium-scale, figurative drawings, which artist Ellen Goldschmidt calls “unintended narratives.”  We hope you will be inspired by these intriguingly ambiguous pictures to create and polish a narrative of your own (1-2 pages) to read during the open mic portion of our program, August 17.

"Text is pervasive in visual art now. Artists like Ed Ruscha or Barbara Kruger have built their entire career on painting words. Contemporary artists might agree with Beuys when he says, “Language is an object; it is materialized thought.”  But language is also not like other objects because the viewer holds it in a different way than they do an image. In “Narrative Impulse” Ellen Goldschmidt comes at this problem from another angle. She’s not putting language onto paper but inviting narrative to arrive out of image. We’ll see  how this affects the viewer and the work. Because language is overt and image wants to resist being pinned by meaning—like rain on glass, we can fling our ideas against it, but they disappear. As Blackfish’s only writer-member I’m interested in the influence—negative and positive—of words in art. To me, language and meaning are inextricable; I’m scared by the idea that they would be separated—totalitarian regimes manipulate language in exactly that way.  But I’m also interested in the power image has to excite our narrative impulse. I think it’s a unification of two fundamental parts that make us human: what we see and what we say.”


Merridawn Duckler



Mountain Writers Series at AWP 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014
1:30 - 2:45 pm

A Tribute to Vern Rutsala

Peter SearsAnita Helle,  Lex Runciman,  Maxine Scates, and Christopher Howell

R205. Room 608, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.

This panel celebrates Vern Rutsala, a preeminent poet and native of the Pacific Northwest, whose 80th birthday is this year. Rutsala is author of over a dozen books of poems, including The Moment’s Equation – a finalist for the National Book Award. Other honors include the Richard Snyder Prize, Oregon Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. This panel of colleagues and friends read from Rutsala's poems and discusses his work and life.


Thursday, February 27, 2014
4:30 - 5:45 pm

Mountain Writers Series: After 40 Years – A Nonprofit Model

Sandra WilliamsAlice Derry, Patty Wixon,  Vince Wixon, Cindy Stewart-Rinier

R258. Washington State Convention Center, Level 4.

After its first tour for W.S. Merwin in 1976, Mountain Writers became a hub for a regional network presenting the finest contemporary writers, many just emerging into prominence. Join this discussion of cooperative scheduling to reach diverse, often under-served audiences – middle school to university, rural to urban, across six states – and its value to authors, publishers, and audiences. Panelists and writers share anecdotes as they discuss the strengths of nonprofit literary presenting.


Thursday, February 27, 2014
6:30 - 11:30 pm
Mountain Writers Series 40th Anniversary Private Reception and Reading         

Off-site event -- a celebration for all who have contributed to the past four decades of Mountain Writers Series: MWS board members and advisors -- past and present; student interns, volunteers; and, of course, the hundreds of alumni poets, writers, musicians who made the program successful.

This event will feature music by Glen Moore on bass and readings by poets and writers who have appeared in Mountain Writers Series events over the past four decades, including Kim Addonizio, David James Duncan, Vern Rutsala, Peter Sears and others!

Contact for details and to be included on guest list.


Saturday, March 1, 2014
4:30 - 5:45 pm
Mountain Writers Series 40th Anniversary Reading

S272. Room 608, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.

This reading features David James Duncan and Maxine Scates, two prominent Northwest writers who have participated over the years in Mountain Writers’ readings, workshops, low-residency MFA program, festivals, and workshops. These authors commemorate Mountain Writers by sharing their own work and by paying tribute to some of those writers no longer with us who also make up the rich legacy of the past four decades of literary excellence. Brief audio of Richard Hugo, William Stafford, James Welch, and others.



David James Duncan is author of the novels The River Why and The Brothers K, the story collection River Teeth, and the nonfiction collections My Story as Told by Water and God Laughs & Plays. He is also co-author of two fast-response activist books, The Heart of the Monster (2011, co-written with Rick Bass) and Citizen’s Dissent (2003, co-written with Wendell Berry). His work has won three Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, three Pushcart Prizes, a Lannan Fellowship, the Western States Book Award for nonfiction, a National Book Award nomination, an honorary doctorate from University of Portland, the American Library Association’s 2003 Award for the Preservation of Intellectual Freedom (with co-author Wendell Berry), and inclusion in more than forty national anthologies including Best American Essays, Best American Sports Writing, Best American Catholic Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing. He lives with his family in western Montana, where he is working on a novel that combines his loves for Asian wisdom traditions and the land and people of the American West.

Maxine Scates is the author of three collections of poetry, Undone, Black Loam, and Toluca Street. She is coeditor, with David Trinidad, of Holding Our Own: The Selected Poems of Ann Stanford. Her poems have been widely published in such journals as AGNI, The American Poetry Review, Ironwood, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares and The Virginia Quarterly Review. Her work has received the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, the Oregon Book Award for Poetry, the Lyre Prize, a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Literary Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission. She has taught at Lane Community College, Lewis and Clark College and most recently Reed College. She lives in Eugene, Oregon.




Saturday, March 1, 2014
7:00 - 8:15 pm
Mountain Writers Series: A Reception & Reading to Celebrate 40 Years

Aspen Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor

Join us to meet and greet award-winning poets and writers from our past four decades. The evening’s featured readers will be Mary Szybist, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry, for her book Incarnadine (Graywolf Press), Henry Carlile, and other Mountain Writers Series guest readers to be announced.

Mary Szybist is Associate Professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, and received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of two collections of poems, Granted (Alice James Books, 2003), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Incarnadine (Graywolf Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry, Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize Anthology, Virginia Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review,Tin House, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, and other journals. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Great Lakes Colleges Association, the MacDowell Colony, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. Mary grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and attended the University of Virginia and the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. She has called Portland home since 2004.


Henry Carlile was born in San Francisco and grew up in California and Washington State. He is a lifelong outdoorsman and conservationist whose poems reflect the natural world. His latest book,Oregon, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2013. Carlile earned an M.A. with emphasis in creative writing from the University of Washington, where he studied with Theodore Roethke, Henry Reed, Elizabeth Bishop and David Wagoner. He taught creative writing and American literature at Portland State University and was a visiting lecturer in the Iowa Writers Workshop. Carlile has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. His work has appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, the New Yorker, Shenandoah and many other publications. He lives with his wife and family in Portland, Oregon.

[Photo by Kevin Costello]




Lynnell Major Edwards
Poetry Reading at Concordia University

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Room 108, First Floor
Concordia University George R. White Library & Learning Center
2800 NE Liberty, Portland, OR 97211

presented by Concordia University Libraries’ Art & Culture Program
co-sponsored by Mountain Writers Series


Free and open to the public.

Flyer for Reading


Lynnell Major Edwards is the author of three collections of poetry, The Farmer’s Daughter (2003), The Highwayman’s Wife (2007), and most recently Covet (2011), all from Red Hen Press. Her short fiction and book reviews have appeared most recently in Connecticut Review, American Book Review, Pleiades, New Madrid, and others. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky where she is on the Board of Directors for Louisville Literary Arts, a non-profit organization that sponsors the monthly InKY reading series and The Writer’s Block Festival. She is also Associate Professor of English at Spalding University. Prior to that she was Professor of English at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.   She also teaches creative writing at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and is available for readings and workshops in a variety of settings. 





Kathleen Flenniken & Ceiridwen Terrill
at Concordia University

Concordia University George R. White Library & Learning Center
2800 NE Liberty, Portland, OR 97211

Thursday, March 20, 2014

11:00 - 12:00 pm
Class & Discussion Session
Science Writing Social Change
Room GRW 201, Second Floor

12:30 - 1:30 pm
Poetry & Prose Reading

Room GRW 108, First Floor

presented by Concordia University Libraries’ Art & Culture Program
co-sponsored by Mountain Writers Series

Free and open to the public.


Kathleen Flenniken is the author of two poetry collections. Plume (University of Washington Press, 2012), a meditation on the Hanford Nuclear Site, won the Washington State Book Award and was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.  Famous (University of Nebraska Press, 2006) won the Prairie Schooner Book prize and was named an ALA Notable Book.  Her other awards include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust.  Flenniken works with Writers in the Schools and other arts agencies bringing poetry to youth and serves as Washington State’s Poet Laureate until February 2014. 




Ceiridwen Terrill is the author of two books of nonfiction.Unnatural Landscapes: Tracking Invasive Species (University of Arizona Press, 2007), and Part Wild: Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs (Scribner, 2011), a finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award. She is at work on a new memoir, tentatively titled Go Fish, about coming of age at the end of the Cold War and her family’s connection to the Hanford Nuclear Site. Her articles have appeared in Slate and High Country News, among other publications. Terrill teaches environmental journalism and science writing at Concordia University in Portland. She is a passionate equestrian and backpacker.

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