Windfall Reading Series: 2009

Windfall Archive

January 2009

January 20 Windfall Hosts Book Awards Tour

Meet and hear four writers in person, with refreshments at intermission and books available for purchase and signing.

The January Windfall hosts the Oregon Book Awards Author Tour. The annual treat, sponsored by Literary Arts, honors the finest accomplishments by Oregon writers. All finalists are invited to take part in the Author Tour, which brings finalists to public libraries and independent bookstores around the state. Eugene is fortunate to be a tour stop.

At the reading from 7-9 pm on January 20, come to the downtown Eugene library to hear a selection of finalists read their work, share stories, and answer questions. Two of the readers published their own books through online publishers, which may be of interest to many writers in the audience.

Beren deMotierBeren deMotier was nominated for the Creative Nonfiction award for The Brides of March: Memoir of a Same-Sex Marriage. According to judge Barbara Sjoholm, this “poignant and hilarious” book “manages to create a spirited romp out of a contentious and often painful civil rights issue in present-day Oregon.” DeMotier has also written for Curve, And Baby, and Pride Parenting.

K.B. DixonK.B. Dixon‘s The Sum of His Syndromes was a finalist for the Fiction award. Judge A.M. Homes calls it "the story of a young man on the cusp of something” and writes, “This is the kind of book where we see a bit of ourselves and grimace – but keep reading.” Dixon writes on visual arts for The Oregonian and has a collection of short stories, My Desk and I.

Jill KellyJill Kelly was nominated in Creative Nonfiction for Sober Truths. Judge Sjoholm calls this memoir of alcohol addiction and recovery “a vivid and honest account of what it means to give up drinking and find the way to a new life.” Jill Kelly, a former professor of French literature, is now an editor, creativity coach, and visual artist at work on her first novel.

Linda ZuckermanLinda Zuckerman won the Young Adult Literature award for her first novel, A Taste for Rabbit. Judge Jacqueline Woodson reports, this tale of the struggles between a fox and a rabbit “is a deeper story … about societies and hierarchies and the dangers of not seeing beyond your own worlds.” Before becoming a consultant and writer, Zuckerman was an editor of award-winning children’s books.

Windfall readings are sponsored by Eugene Public Library, Lane Literary Guild, the Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation, and Lane Arts Council.

February 2009

February Windfall: Following Your Passion

The February 17 Windfall promises to warm the audience with raptors, the voices of award-winning young writers, and two local authors who serve our community by doing what they love to do.

Melissa HartMelissa Hart is a longtime volunteer and educator at the Cascades Raptor Center, where she works to train and care for an assortment of birds of prey, such as Bodhi the barred owl. She and her husband have promised to bring a few well-behaved birds to the reading so that everyone can view these amazing creatures up close.

Hart grew up in Southern California and graduated from the UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College and teaches journalism classes at the UO and memoir writing for UC Berkeley’s online program.

Her essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Orion, High Country News, and Horizon Air Magazine. Seal Press will publish her second memoir, Chica, in 2009. She lives in Eugene with her husband, their young daughter, and their many pets.

Erik MullerErik Muller coined the term “Windfall” for this series and hosted it for years. His work as founder and editor of the journal Fireweed, and as a supporter of literary activity in general, won him the Stewart Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts. His poetry appears in several chapbooks, books and magazines, including his most recent chapbook, For All I Know. Harcourt Brace published his college writing text, Opening Arguments.

Muller’s essays on Vern Rutsala and Josephine Miles are part of the Western Writers Series. He is currently writing pieces for a collection titled Durable Goods: Appreciations of Oregon Poets, three of which have appeared in Northwest Review.

Muller’s poems describe everyday experience in language that is clean and authentic. He writes about family and neighborhood, about clearing the garden, grinding the coffee, about the local cemetery and the backyard cherry tree. In 2003 Muller established Traprock Books, a small press that publishes Oregon poets.

Retired from teaching at Southwestern Oregon Community College and Lane Community College, Muller lives in Eugene with his wife Ann and their belly-rubbing-loving dog, Humphrey.

As a special treat just before intermission, there will be a brief presentation by a few young Lane County writers. To help celebrate the 15th birthday of the Young Writers Association, there will be cake as well.

March 2009

March 17th Windfall: Roots and Other Connections

Tuesday, March 17, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Eugene Public Library
Bascom-Tykeson Room

Each of us has bonds that go back, and ties that bind. The March Windfall authors explore the ramifications of family, place, and community, and the surprisingly long trail that our pasts can have.

Stacey Lynn BrownStacey Lynn Brown was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and studied at Emory University, Oxford University and the University of Oregon, where she received her MFA in poetry. C&R Press published her book-length poem, Cradle Song, which stirs up honest, vivid memories of growing up in the South. In January 2009, Brown’s work has received prizes from the Poetry Center of Chicago and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Brown’s poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Natural Bridge, Sou’wester, and Southern Quarterly Review. Poet Naomi Shihab Nye says of Cradle Song: "Here’s a cycle of poems that feels perfectly timed for our current American moment… poems that wrap right around you, carrying the reader into a richly textured world of voices and scenes, gritty and cozy memories pressed side-by-side, in delicious readable resonance."

Brown teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University and lives with her husband and their daughter in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Miriam GershowMiriam Gershow’s recently released debut novel, The Local News, examines how the disappearance of a teenage boy affects his younger sister, Lydia. Publishers Weekly describes The Local News as “an accomplished debut,” and Kirkus Reviews calls it “fresh” and “disarmingly unsentimental.” Janet Maslin writes in The New York Times that this story “is full of insightful, implicit hindsight as it illustrates how the trauma involving Danny will shape Lydia’s adulthood and forever stunt her ability to get along with others.”

Gershow’s stories have appeared in The Georgia Review, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Nimrod, The Journal, and Gulf Coast, and have been listed in the 100 Distinguished Stories of The Best American Short Stories 2007.

She received her MFA from the UO and has taught writing at the University of Wisconsin, and to gifted high school students through Johns Hopkins University. She lives with her husband in Eugene, where she writes and teaches fiction, literature, and college writing at the University of Oregon and Portland State University.

April 2009

April Windfall: The Wideness of the World

Tuesday, April 21, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Eugene Public Library
Bascom-Tykeson Room

Windfall celebrates National Poetry Month with the voices of two poets whose paths have wandered through careers and locales, and whose poetry relates their experiences with playful honesty.

Anita SullivanAnita Sullivan received her BA and MA in English at Clemson University, South Carolina. After teaching community college, she became a piano tuner. This fueled her book, The Seventh Dragon: The Riddle of Equal Temperament, which won the Western States Book Award for creative nonfiction. Her second nonfiction book, Ikaria: A Love Odyssey on a Greek Island, charmingly combines memoir with travel writing.

In the mid-80’s Sullivan joined a poetry group in Corvallis and began to do occasional commentary on National Public Radio. Traprock Books published her poetry chapbook, The Middle Window, in 2008. The book is full of surprises, leaping from a piano lesson in the “ivory light” of a winter afternoon to “ruddled” sheep seen from a car window. In these poems, the familiar becomes magical and a “chalky blue door” at the bottom of a garden can make time stop.

Sullivan is a founding member of Airlie Press, a poetry publishing collective. She lives in Eugene with her husband, a piano historian and, in lieu of pets, a piano, a fortepiano, a clavichord and a garden.

Amy MillerAmy Miller has lived in only four states, but in 15 houses. She has worked as a horseback riding instructor, electronic assembler, ad salesperson, and photographer’s assistant. Such shifting landscapes and eclectic interests are reflected in her poetry, which covers artichokes, brain MRIs, landlords, and hamsters.

Miller’s poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in Northwest Review, Many Mountains Moving, The Oregonian, Crab Orchard Review, and ZYZZYVA. The winner of three Kay Snow Awards and the Whiskey Island Poetry Prize, she was a quarterfinalist for Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize and reached the finals in last year’s Prairie Home Companion Sonnet Contest, during which Garrison Keillor mispronounced her name on the air.

Her own chapbooks include The Mechanics of the Rescue and The Stablehand’s Report as well as three mini-books of essays, most recently Fred Meyer, Mi Amore. She’s currently working on a cycle of poems based on the Monopoly board and putting together a full-length poetry manuscript.

She shares her home with three lively cats in Ashland, where she works for a trivia-book publisher.

May 2009

May Windfall: Landscapes, Literature, and Loving What You Do

Tuesday, May 19, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Eugene Public Library
Bascom-Tykeson Room

The last Windfall of the 08-09 season turns to interior and exterior landscapes for inspiration and celebration.

Evelyn HessEvelyn Hess and her husband David have been “camping” without electricity or plumbing for 15 years, since they bought property in the Coast Range foothills. Her book-length memoir, Nest of the Mourning Dove, details their daily lives and leads readers through the change of consciousness born of living closer to nature than to society. An essay from the book was recently chosen as a finalist in the Oregon Quarterly’s 2009 essay contest.

Hess has an interdisciplinary master’s degree in landscape architecture, horticulture, and journalism. She has managed commercial wholesale greenhouses and ran the UO Biology teaching and research greenhouses for 10 years, teaching occasional classes.

Evelyn and David now own a nursery and design, build, and maintain gardens for others. Evelyn teaches numerous gardening-related classes, and enjoys being a nature guide for elementary-school students who visit Mount Pisgah Arboretum.

Currently she is writing a sequel to her first memoir, as well as a science-fiction fantasy for children, and making sporadic attempts at poetry that she hesitates to show anyone.

Susan DenningSusan Denning writes, teaches writing, edits the online magazine Caffeine Destiny, and works at a literary non-profit. Her poems have appeared in New York Quarterly, Rattle, Perihelion, Hubbub, The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel, and elsewhere. Her poetry reflects her interests in natural and urban landscapes, human relationships, and linguistic play. Her manuscript has been named a finalist in a number of competitions.

In her work at Literary Arts, Denning directs the Oregon Book Awards and Literary Fellowships programs, and manages event production for Portland Arts & Lectures. She teaches writing at Marylhurst University, Portland State, and other Portland-area colleges. She grew up in Corvallis, attended the UO, and has lived in Portland since 1988.

The Windfall Reading Series is co-sponsored by the Eugene Public Library, Lane Literary Guild, and the Cultural Services Division of Lane Arts Council. The Series returns in September under its new directors, Anita Sullivan and Tim Volem.

September 2009

September Windfall: The Story Behind the Story

Tuesday, September 15, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Eugene Public Library
Bascom-Tykeson Room

Our first Windfall of the 2009/2010 season is focused on ways to bring new and fresh attention to old stories—whether these be traditional fairy tales or the oft-repeated grapevine reports that grow up around one’s home town.

Laura LeHew

Laura LeHew“I love animals,” says Laura LeHew, and by that she means the lions, tigers and wolves of fairy tales as well as the real ones. Her 2009 chapbook Beauty, (Tiger’s Eye Press, Eugene) is a sly and spirited re-casting of some of the Grimm’s fairy tales of her childhood. The book is already in its third printing.

LeHew came to Eugene after 18 years in the Bay Area, where she earned an MFA in poetry from the California College of Arts. Here in Oregon she has devoted her organizational energies and skills to various local and statewide literary activities, including the OSPA (board of directors, Springfield Library Reading Series co-coordinator, and contest chair), Lane Literary Guild (steering committee and critique group leader). Her organization Uttered Chaos, which sets up poetry readings locally and regionally, has recently branched out into a publishing company, which released its first book Enough of Daylight in May. In her spare time she earns her living as the president and CFO of Deer Run Associates, which provides Information Technology and Security consulting services to clients worldwide. Many local poets have benefited from Laura’s computer expertise, which she sometimes uses to design beautiful broadsides.

Matt Love

Matt LoveMatt Love, like Laura LeHew, is also a publisher as well as a writer. From his home in South Beach near Newport, he runs Nestucca Spit Press, an independent press that publishes exclusively books about Oregon. Most recently his press took on the self-imposed mission of compiling an anthology of stories and essays, anecdotes, yarns, and short memoirs by Oregon authors throughout the state, in honor of the sesquicentennial. Like the Little Red Hen, Matt was the compiler, editor, publisher, author, and marketer of this book, Citadel of the Spirit: Oregon’s Sesquicentennial Anthology. (And he teaches high school for a living!)

Love’s book, from which he will read, Super Sunday in Newport: Notes From My First Year in Town “mixes memoir, polemic, vignette, essay and photographs to create a unique personal portrait of Newport” says his website. “Most of what is written about Newport is strictly for tourists. I like to think that no one has observed Newport quite like I have and that the book offers fresh insights into one of the greatest towns in Oregon.”

Matt Love teaches English and journalism at Newport High School and is a regular contributor to The Oregonian. He is currently working on a book about the filming of  Sometimes a Great Notion in Lincoln County in 1970.

October 2009

October Windfall: Alchemy & Science

Tuesday, October 20, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Eugene Public Library
Bascom-Tykeson Room

A medical historian writing artfully and a poet writing with scientific precision — makes for a fine distillation of words.

Thomas Hager 

After earning two master’s degrees, one in medical microbiology and immunology and another in journalism, Hager embarked on a career as a freelance medical writer. He belongs to that rare group of authors like Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma) with a passion for making science clear, lively, and vital. The most recent of the dozen books he has “had a hand in writing,” The Alchemy of Air, is the history of the development of modern fertilizer — but it reads like a novel.

Due to his knack for popularizing complex but important medical and scientific subjects Hager has become something of a media star: he has appeared on C-Span’s “BookTV” twice and been interviewed on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” “Science Friday,” and “Talk of the Nation.” He has given talks before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, university classes, medical associations, scientific gatherings, health organizations, charitable giving efforts, alumni events, and peace groups.

Hager was raised in and around Portland, and now makes his home “in the hills near Eugene” with his wife Lauren Kessler and three children.

Endi Bogue Hartigan

Endi Bogue HartigaIf you browse the poems in Hartigan’s award-winning first collection One Sun Storm you may find words like “oxygen” and “electron” interspersed with the more usual poetic vocabulary. “Let us be clear,” one of her poems repeats, and her work has been described as “a poetry whose accuracy is humbly undercut by the recognition that the world is always larger than the poem.” 

Hartigan co-founded and edited the poetry magazine Spectaculum, which was devoted to long poems, series, and projects best presented at length. Her first book won the 2008 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and a second manuscript Chorus Interstice, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. She has lived primarily on the West coast and in Hawaii, and holds degrees from Reed College and University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Endi lives in Portland with her husband and son, and works for the state university system.

November 2009

November Windfall: Songs a River Might Speak

Tuesday, November 17, 5:30 pm
Eugene Public Library
Bascom-Tykeson Room

Two Western Oregon poets with new books, write eloquently from deep experience with the many ways that love can be fierce, turbulent and unaccountable in the human and in the natural world.

Donna Henderson

Donna Henderson will read from The Eddy Fence (Airlie Press, 2009), described by poet Eleanor Wilner as “light-filled, sensuous poems” and by Mark Jarman as “lyrical and striking.” Henderson lives with her husband, Rich Sutliff, on their farm south of Monmouth. Her poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. Her collection Transparent Woman, was a finalist for the 1997 Oregon Book Award. She performs with the classical piano performance trio Tonepoem, based at Western Oregon University, and is founding member of Airlie Press. A licensed clinical social worker, Henderson maintains a psychotherapy practice in Monmouth, and also teaches creative writing at Willamette University.

Jessica Lamb

Jessica Lamb will read from Last Apples of Late Empires (Airlie Press, 2009), which poet Paulann Petersen describes as “steeped in loneliness, streaked with joy,” and poet Kim Stafford says, “She goes oblique from loss into a side-room she fills with hoarded sensations, tough little songs, devotions, and love letters to what remains. This book is that room.” Lamb was raised in Vermont in a log house on 200 acres. At an early age she began winning awards for her poetry, and spent a year living in Rome as a teenager, where she fell in love with Italian literature. After earning a master’s in Italian from Stanford, she has continued to write and publish poetry in a wide array of journals, and is currently teaching literature at Portland Community College and through Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program. She lives in Portland with her husband Will Gehr and son Hayden.