April 11, 2004

Leonard Schwartz, Zhang Er & Joseph Bradshaw

Sunday April 11, 2004, 7:30 pm
Mountain Writers Center
3624 SE Milwaukie
Portland, Ore.

Suggested donation $5


About the readers:

Leonard Schwartz is the author of The Tower of Diverse Shores (Talisman 2003), Words Before The Articulate: New and Selected Poems, (Talisman House), and several other books of poetry, and a collection of essays, A Flicker At The Edge Of Things: Essays on Poetics 1987-97 (Spuyten Duyvil). In recent years he has read from his work at international festivals, conferences, and universities in China, Turkey, France, Belgium, Portugal, Russia, Argentina, and Peru. He currently teaches at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.


Zhang Er was born in Beijing, China and moved to the United States in 1986. She is the author of two full-length collections, Seen, Unseen (QingHai Publishing House, China, 1999), and Water Words (New World Poetry Press, Alhambra, CA, 2002), and numerous chapbooks. She has read from her work at international festivals, conferences, reading series, and universities in China, France, Portugal, Russia, and Peru. She currently resides in Olympia, Washington.


Joseph Bradshaw lives in Portland, where he co-edits FO A RM Magazine: co-ordinates (with David Abel) the Passages Poetry and Performance series; blabs with the sound poetry ensemble JJMMAD; and is a member of Spare Room. He is planning on being the second person in history to marry a book (George Oppen's Primitive). If it turns out that the book is already spoken for, he plans on having a copy grafted to his forearm. Joseph's middle name is Dee. He likes walking.

Apple Anyone 5

Why is it my words always touch this particular?
I stay afloat on language I've plucked from Sufi summer,
my trysts with words the same one wooed, mascared, talced.
Though the lute of a genii is as outdated as last year's atlas,
though a belated troubadour sings of checkmate move by move,
yet no monumental rock shall outlast these our silly constructs:
that which glints brightly in such tariffed compositions
is a gazelle among orange groves, a mecca in the mouth.
Here comes a tabby whose scratch will leave a lasting mark,
or else a taffeta from a quarter of town recently hit by bombs,
or all the cotton ever picked, the laborious wizard enslaved inside you.
Why is it my words always touch this one particular?
As the sun is daily both bouncy and flat so we transact
only what we can minaret, darting among damasked ruins.

Leonard Schwartz


Camera Lens

Where to focus? A brick wall with water stains
the cement exterior peeled off, exposes a life's rough history --
stand there, don't think, expect
nothing. In the distance, after-school children appear,
walk near, then walk by, discussing
the relationship between poverty and education.
Memory of virginity, memory of poverty. Didn't expect
you to be so relaxed at this moment, 25 years of dammed water
penetrating endless stories, irrigating
this peculiar peony at the foot of the wall --
for your next book's
cover image: please take off hat,
pick proffered fruit naked. The shyness
which can never be peeled off
invades the depth of field. Pupils
enlarge. Full of kindness, a magnet
unable to move away. Hold it right there.

Zhang Er (translated by Bob Holman)


American Heritage -- The Argument

Soft lips kiss
the auto-
mated doors,
the supermarket
is friendly.
Who loves you
and your sarcasm?
Dictionary, page
four hundred
sixty four,
dauphine to dayfly --
the margin
has three small color
photographs, one of
Jefferson
Davis, one
of Miles Davis,
one of a davit.
Someone is
screaming out-
side of the window,
as some people do.

Joseph Bradshaw