B and I in a little cottage outside of Fécamp, Normandy, that used to be the town mill, then a little school house. We are surrounded by herds of black only sheep–where the white sheep are the black sheep–and a donkey we named Xote (get it?). A butcher gifted us a gelatinous beef sandwich because our rudimentary french amused him. We accidentally ordered coffee with a mountain of whipped cream. Oysters and wine in town with Jacques Rebotier. The home of Guy de Maupassant. The place where Benedictine liqueuer is made. A glass of brute cider by the fire.
My favorite piece at the St. Louis Art Museum, Rene Magritte’s “The Active Voice” (1951) + Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
I’ve put down the color pencils and ink pens, for now, to work only with a pencil. Clarice Lispector, Jean-Luc Godard, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez are my three most recent portraits. I’d draw a portrait of one of your favorite artists too and send it to you if you’d want.
Francis Picabia’s “The Handsome Pork Butcher” (1924) + “Femme a la mantille bleue” (1943) + “Roofs of Paris” (1900).
I’ll be away from Portland for 212 days, traveling with my partner, Brandi Katherine Herrera, both of us with big goals to work on writing, translation and other various art projects. Some of these days have already been spent around the American Midwest, and many of those days, from February through April, will be spent in France, and others are still unaccounted for, and a few will be in western Massachusetts.
One good way to follow along will be through Brandi’s photo-blog and travelogue, /en route. There, Brandi will be documenting her time traveling and making art through the lens of living with fewer things, living + working for about seven months out of a duffle bag and a backpack, carefully considering the time and space that her possessions consume, and about how living with less will change her focus and her relationship to money. You should follow along through her photos and her travelogue.
Today, Literary Arts announced the finalists for the 2015 Oregon Book Awards. I’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.
In addition to doing portraiture commissions for people to help support my novel-writing adventure over the next few months, I started drawing portraits of some of the artists and thinkers I admire.
8 x 11 prints of these 5 are now available on Buy Olympia’s website for $20 each, along with some of my previous portraits. If you’re a fan of these artists and thinkers too, please consider buying a print. It would go a long way to help support me during my travels.
Originals are 14 x17 and are also available–just send me a query over email.
Saturday night’s celebration of Wong May’s Picasso’s Tears at Mother Foucault’s bookshop was remarkable. Thank you for showing up, for supporting this book and these poems, and thank you to those of you who performed.
This is a video of Samiya Bashir’s stunning performance of “Ask” by Wong May.
I did a portraiture commission of mother and daughter, Lex and Avi, as a holiday gift for my new friend, and their husband and father, Simon.
Lately, in order to financially support my time writing a novel, I’ve been teaching myself to draw portraits. I would really like to keep drawing, and I hope you will consider commissioning me for a portrait of yourself or a loved one. I’m thinking portraits would make a pretty sweet holiday gift.
These portraits are 11 x 14, pencil, color pencil, and ink, on 90lb acid-free archival paper. I’ll seal them and ship them to you safely. Email me for more details.
As a small independent press, the best way for anyone to financially support Octopus Books, is to purchase our books. Because we are trying to grow our press, by publishing 5 or more poetry titles per year, we could really use your help now more than ever.
We are now offering both 1 year and 2 year subscriptions to our future catalog, and your subscription purchase will go a long way in helping us afford those costs up front. A subscription to our next 5 or 10 books would make for a good holiday gift for yourself or for someone who isn’t you but is still someone whom you like or maybe love.
If you buy a one year subscription, we’ll send you a bonus book from our back catalog (except for Picasso’s Tears by Wong May). For a two year subscription, we’ll send you two bonus books of your choice (or Picasso’s Tears). If you buy a subscription for a friend, we’d be happy to send the bonus book(s) to you if you’d like.
Octopus Books happens because of the volunteer hard work and energy of about a half dozen people. We do this only because we love what we make and we believe in what we do. Please consider supporting us, and we’ll reward you with the best books of poems we can muster. Thank you.