Talking Earth on 02/21/11

Talking Earth
Air date: 
Mon, 02/21/2011 - 10:00pm - 11:00pm
Short Description: 
Oregon Poetic Voices, a new archive of recorded Oregon poetry; Barbara LaMorticella at Woodstock.

Oregon Poetic Voices Project

Barbara LaMorticella's Wordstock Reading
Talking Earth Radio
Monday Night February 21, 10-11 PM PST
KBOO, 90.7 FM Portland


Small groups of people stumble
from the stairs of the Fronteras Del Norte bus
onto the parking lot of Martina's Market.

Standing beneath a "Welcome to Madras" sign
they shiver in clusters of three or four
smoking, drinking, eating burritos.
Skinny young men and dark haired mothers,
arrive in this desert town carrying
the hopes of Sonora, the dreams of Guadalajara.
Suitcases and neatly tied cardboard boxes
are heaped around the knees of those
who wait for a cousin, an aunt, a promise.
Sleepy-eyed, some stumble back up the steps
and continue riding to Hood River or Yakima,
their frontera extending north as far as need. 

by Maralee Gerke
audio posted on Oregon Poetic Voices,

Monday night February 21, Talking Earth welcomes Doug Erickson and Melissa Dalton to talk about and play samples from the Oregon Poetic Voices project,, which, through the Special Collections at Lewis and Clark College, is in the process of creating a permanent online audio repository of Oregon poets’ voices.

The project aims to create a truly comprehensive audio library of poetry in Oregon, historically and in the present, in diverse venues, geographical regions and populations. Initial backbone of the project is material from three extensive collections: The two decades of sound archives of the Fishtrap Writers' Gathering in Wallowa County, collected by Rich Wandschneider; the twenty years of programs recorded by Barbara LaMorticella and Walt Curtis at KBOO radio; and the recorded archives at Sandra Williams's long-running Mountain Writers project.

There are more than 100 recorded voices already online, and many more in the process of being archived. These range from children to high school and college students, to poets who are already known locally or nationally.

OPV's goal is to build an audio archive as widely representative as possible of Oregon poets from across the state, and with this aim the OPV staff has partnered with libraries in rural communities and traveled there to record local poets. In conjunction with these recording sessions, OPV has also sponsored free writing workshops. Many of these workshops have been conducted by noteworthy Oregon poets and writers, such as Oregon’s current poet laureate Paulann Petersen in Klamath Falls, Jarold Ramsey in Madras, and Matthew Dickman in Ashland.

In the first half of the program, Doug and Melissa will talk and play excerpts from OPV. All the poetry reading at last October’s Wordstock were recorded for the project. The second half of the show will feature Barbara LaMorticella's Wordstock reading.

It All Adds Up

In one night three Guantanamo prisoners
killed themselves
by hanging themselves with sheets
from their cages’ 8 foot walls

Yasser Al-Zahrani 22, Saudi,
turned over by a bounty hunter at 17,
imprisoned and tortured for five years at Guantanamo.
Determined to be innocent,
slated to be sent home.

It all adds up:

The prison doctors concluded that the three terrorists
stuffed rags deep down their own throats
tied masks to their faces to keep the rags in
bound their own hands -- (one bound his feet also)--
then climbed up on their washbasins
and jumped.

Mani Al-Utaybi, 30, Saudi,
orphaned and raised in a small village,
traveled to do humanitarian work in Baluchistan,
a tribal area bordering Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
Sold by bounty hunters for $5,000.
Imprisoned and tortured for four years.
Determined to be innocent ,
slated to be sent home.

In order to hurt America,
they killed themselves.

Salah Al-Salami 37, Yemini,
arrested with other students in a sweep of a boarding house
which may at one time have sheltered terrorists.
Imprisoned and tortured for four years,
determined to be innocent

The bodies were returned to their families
with their throats removed--
no independent autopsy was possible.

It all adds up:

The windows of numbers have sprung open.

The King is in his counting house where
two doesn’t necessarily follow one
and three doesn’t wait in line politely
but leaps like prisoners cut loose,
liberated from all arithmetic and from gravity.

Barbara LaMorticella
published in Counterpunch
audio posted on Oregon Poetic Voices

Wednesday February 23 7-8 PM
Verse in Person
NW Branch of the Multnomah County Library
23rd & NW Thurman


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