Black Ocean

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The Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities is using my book of poems, Fjords vol. 1, to teach literacy to some of their adult clients. They’ve been interpreting some of the poems in their art classes. As a poet, too rarely do you get to see the evidence of the work the poems are doing without you there, after you’ve written them, so this news makes me incredibly happy and proud. 

Can you guess to which Fjords poem they belong? 

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Today, Literary Arts announced the finalists for the 2015 Oregon Book AwardsI’m beyond honored to tell you that my fourth book of poems, The Book of Joshua (Black Ocean), is now the third of mine to be nominated for an Oregon Book Award. It was selected by Brenda Shaughnessy among some brilliant poetry titles by Wendy Chin-Tanner, Emily Kendal Frey, Endi Bogue Hartigan, and Dawn Diez Willis. There are so so many worthy books of poems written in Oregon each year, so I’m continually encouraged by, and thankful for Literary Arts for shining such a bright spotlight upon these books I’ve been writing.

When I was in Philadelphia on my road trip, I was presented with a version of The Book of Joshua that had been completely re-purposed by my friend, Joshua Ware, and shipped ahead to find me in Philly. I didn’t get a chance to really look at it at that night, but have since spent a lot of time with it. Joshua’s repurposing of TBOJ, which he calls The Book of Joshua Ware, has had a real effect on me, and how I now read my own book. His re-purposing allows me to understand something about my own book in part by letting me see it through his eyes, through a reader’s eyes, so that I’m also able to see it as his book, as a reader’s experience. I have the only copy of this thing, and it is in now one of my most precious books. You can see his collaboration with TBOJ page for page here in this video he made, and you can read far more about his project here that he is calling Immersive/Intensive. TBOJ is not the only book he collaborated with. He also made his own versions of Joe Hall’s The Devotional Poems, Wendy Xu’s You Are Not Dead, Matthew Henricksen’s Ordinary Sun, and Sommer Browning’s Backup Singers