Category Archives: Writing

New Earth series at Vernissage Fine Art, artist talk January 22

December 5th, 2018

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I will be giving an artist talk about the New Earth series at Vernissage Fine Art on January 22, 2018 at 5 pm, at 1953 NW Kearney Street, Portland, OR.

Here are some thoughts on the series which I will be expanding on in my talk.

This series envisions the way that climate change is reshaping our planet and our embodied experience of it.

The shapes in the paintings map newly exposed ground near glaciers. This is land that used to be permanently covered by a glacier that is now uncovered. This new earth is like a wound, or new, delicate skin that has formed over a wound and is now (ready or not) exposed to the world.

I began the series thinking that I was making paintings that might help explicate climate change through sensory experience, make it more real by making it visible. But the more I worked on it, the more I found that these paintings are as much — or more — about confusion as they are about clarity. They are as much about unknowing as they are about knowing. The paintings are presenting visual information gained from scientific sources. To find these shapes, I relied heavily on NASA satellite images and data-based projections. But the visual information is overlaid in such a way as to create difficulty in apprehending any one section or shape. The information swims together into composite shapes, the colors overlapping to form new colors. This reflects the fundamental interconnectedness of all life, all locales, the way that a glacier calving in Greenland causes the ocean to rise in the Marshall Islands.

It also reflects the overwhelming confusion most of us feel in response to climate change. The glut of information available to us often results in feeling flooded and therefore less, rather than more, informed. We’ve been taught to structure information hierarchically, to parse history into nations, time periods. Climate change eradicates those helpful boundaries. There are no limits, no parameters, no political boundaries, no temporal boundaries…

In the words of Roy Scranton, climate change is hard to think about “not only because it’s complex and politically contentious,” but also because “it’s cognitively almost impossible to keep in mind the intricate relationships that tie together an oil well in Venezuela, Siberian permafrost, Saudi F-15s bombing a Yemeni wedding, subsidence along the Jersey Shore, albedo effect near Kangerlussuaq, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the polar vortex, shampoo, California cattle, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, leukemia, plastic, paper, the Sixth Extinction, Zika, and the basic decisions we make every day. … It’s mind-bendingly difficult to connect the dots.”

Yes. And so is it mind-bendingly difficult to extricate one bit of these paintings from any other bits. They are one massive sensory swirl.

But they are a beautiful confusion. These paintings are intentionally beautiful. They are lovely to behold. Welcoming. I made them that way so that we might be willing to feel discomfort of confusion and grief a little longer, allow the complexity and profundity of climate change and the unbearably difficult emotions that its complexity generates to linger. To feel it, at least for a moment. To let it in.

Sitka Center residency

July 1st, 2018

I’m delighted to have been awarded a residency at the Sitka Center for Art + Ecology for December, 2018.

Thanks, also, to PNCA for granting me a sabbatical so that I can focus on my creative work while I’m there!

 

Poetry! The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College

May 27th, 2018

I am excited to be embarking on a second masters degree, this time focusing on my life-long love of poetry, which has refused to leave me alone for decades.

The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College is the most prestigious low-residency writing MFA in the country and I’m so honored to be working with the brilliant students and faculty that make the program what it is.

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Workshop at Scalehouse

February 14th, 2015

I’m excited to be leading a workshop on Visual Storytelling at ScaleHouse, a wonderful community art space in Bend, OR. More details are here.

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Words in Place gets press!

January 14th, 2015

I’m thrilled that my Words in Place project is featured in Tripwire 8, a journal of poetics.

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Words in Place chapbook

January 14th, 2015

I created a chapbook with the incredible Kaia Sand based on our collaboration as part of my Words in Place project. The chapbook is on display at the Killingsworth Branch, Multnomah County Library. Photos coming soon!

Leaf Litter #4!

July 17th, 2014

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After a wonderful release party for Leaf Litter #4, the new issue is now available at Reading Frenzy and Powells in Portland, as well as in several libraries and museum libraries. If you’d like a copy, please email me.

Ecopoetics conference

March 5th, 2013

Just spent an amazing (sunny!) weekend in Berkeley with an array of profoundly smart and inspiring people.

Among the many ideas floating around in my head as a result of the brilliant discussions and presentations is a new fascination with the radically non-anthropocentric ideas of Object Oriented Ontology.  Thanks to Allison Cobb, Kaia Sand, Jen Coleman and Jen Hofer for their engaging, beautiful, emotionally charged presentation of these ideas.

Thanks, also to Ross Gay and Patrick Rosal for their presentation/performance on remix and reuse in poetry and its ability to disrupt mythologies of individual genius. These late Romantic notions are damaging not only to the individual, but are tied to a capitalist, anthropocentric world view in which the individual is the center of the earth. Embracing the polyvocality of remix can disrupt these “great person narratives,” increasing the artist’s contact with the fertile edge where time and ideas rub against each other, creating new ideas. Our ideas are not, and never were, our own.

The conference and the recent release of Leaf Litter #3, which contains some of my poems, have made me think that it really is time to publish some of my written work, starting with this site. I’m working on making that happen soon…

After the conference, I trekked up to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and caught sight of this magnolia, about to burst into bloom.

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