Talking Earth on 01/16/12
January marks the celebration of the birthdays of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and William Stafford. In tribute to them, tonight’s Talking Earth brings two outstanding Portland poets together: Emmett Wheatfall and Paulann Petersen, Oregon’s Poet Laureate.
Emmett Wheatfall is a powerful speaker and a serious jazz and lyrical poet. He’s an annual presenter of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” during Black History Month Celebrations. Emmett has published two books of poetry, He Sees Things (2010) and We Think We Know (2011). In addition, he has released two lyrical poetry CDs, When I Was Young (2010) and I Loved You Once (2011) which contain poetry writing set to jazz, blues, and pop musical influences. Emmett was described as "one of the most original and powerful debut jazz artists of the year" by Wine and Jazz Magazine.
Emmett has performed his poetry with former Oregon poet laureate Lawson Inada at a ”Celebration of Poetry in Jazz” event, and has performed lyrical poetry at Jimmy Mak’s, a premier Northwest Jazz club which is one of America’s top 100 clubs. He’s a signed recording artist with Peterson Entertainment, Inc, who has performed for sold-out audiences with world class jazz musicians. Tonight he shares his music, poetry and thoughts with Talking Earth listeners and with Paulann Petersen, who was appointed Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate by Governor Ted Kulongoski in 2010.
Paulann Petersen was born in Portland and returned to Portland in 1991, after teaching high school in Klamath Falls for many years. She counts two former poet laureates-- Stafford and Inada-- among her most influential teachers. She’s published four chapbooks and five full-length collections of poetry: The Wild Awake, Blood Silk, A Bride of Narrow Escape, Kindle and The Voluptuary.
Paulann is the force behind the annual series of Stafford Birthday Readings held in January throughout Portland, across Oregon and, increasingly, in other states and countries. Her many writing awards include a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford and the Stewart Holbrook Award for Outstanding Contributions to Oregon's Literary Life (2006). She also has been a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
William Stafford was Oregon’s Poet Laureate from 1975 to 1989. Tonight Paulann will grace us with her poems, talk about this year’s William Stafford Celebration readings, and share some of her thoughts and experiences as she’s traveled the state as Poet Laureate. Barbara LaMorticella hosts.