Chemeketa Writes


Taking poetic inspiration from a handful of carpentry tools and a sheath of world poems in his work bag, poet Clem Starck engaged poets in a two-day visit this winter. From his dynamic reading at the Multicultural Center to his day-long workshop guiding seventeen poets in the art of poetry writing and reading, Starck amused, charmed, and inspired poetry fans from Chemeketa and the Salem community. This seventy-ish Oregon Book Award winner and journeyman carpenter (he helped build a local bridge) showed that the world of words and intellect and the world of craft and building can work vividly side by side--intercut like a good handsaw made of poetry books. This event was sponsored by Chemeketa Writes and the Department of Humanities.

To register for Chemeketa Writes' Spring Workshop, a Children's Literature Workshop with Oregon Book Award Winner Shannon Riggs May 2, 10-3 (cost $75), contact Jan at
(503) 891-9969.

Selections from the Workshop

Friend in Need

Carol Hoagland

There we were--
Two friends in the diner
Sitting side by side.
The hum of cool air
registered--what relief
from the humidity outside

I hadn't long.
My plane would leave
In just a few hours.
Her call was urgent--
My family could wait.

The clatter of dishes
And chattering voices
Soon diminished
As she cried
And I listened.

Two friends
Like two trees
Growing side by side
We had danced in the sun
And weathered the hail.
Our roots--

It was time.
I had to go.
We hugged
We held
We let go--
Two friends living miles apart
Side by side

Seven Tankas

Margaret Miller

Winter Fruit

his face
like a pocked
orange, sweet
in the light
by the stream

Quiet Song

mother and daughter
still estranged
back to back,
silent accordions

Elegy for O

learned he passed
last May
my mentor
my muse

Irreplaceable You

always remember
her face in moon
light, lighting our
room one night
in December


he hits
in Cougar Stadium--
says the ball--the ball
looks as big as a grapefruit


so snobby
that man
with millions--
I call his yacht
a boat


boy in the zoo
his eyes in
the lion's roar


When light is white cold

Daniel Evans

When light is white cold,
and frost opens sound,
I can hear
most clearly.

There should be birds;
maybe crickets,
or a rustling leaf
in the courtyard.

Machinery hums and clicks,
doors snap shut,
and somewhere an airplane's engine,
overlays creation.

People I can't see
share ghosts of conversations,
that find their way
to me.

Upper Field

David Hallett

From the road I see a flatbed
parked in the upper field by
the straw bales stacked six high.
Sitting in the cab, door open, leg out,
the driver eats his lunch in the nakedness
of the new harvest. Above,
a hawk eyes his own lunch running
through the stubble of wheat below.


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