Tag Archives: poet laureate

Listen up, Oregon: Your poet laureate is on the air

By Bob Hicks

Some Scatterers may remember this story, from way back in February, when Oregon was searching for a new poet laureate to replace Lawson Fusao Inada, who had filled two terms and was departing gracefully.

clip_image003Mr. Scatter suggested in The Oregonian that, historically speaking, the best qualifications might include a good beard (or at least a good shock of hair) and a cool-sounding name, like Colley Cibber or Seamus Heaney or Blind Harry or, well, Lawson Fusao Inada.

Once again ignoring Mr. Scatter’s unsolicited advice, Gov. Ted Kulongoski instead appointed Portland poet Paulann Petersen, who does not have a beard but does at least have an alliterative name.

Paulann Petersen, Oregon's new poet laureatePetersen seems like an excellent choice, actually. A good poet laureate is, in a sense, an ambassador of the word, and Petersen stressed that point to the committee that recommended her. “Poetry is not the domain of just a few, nor the realm of the elite,” she said. “Poetry is as natural and accessible as heartbeat and breath.” In April, Jeff Baker introduced her well in the pages of The Oregonian, and a few days later the O’s editorial board even chipped in with this nicely considered look at the laureate’s role and how Petersen might approach it.

This afternoon the Oregon Cultural Trust sent notice that Petersen will be the guest Tuesday morning on OPB Radio‘s Think Out Loud public affairs show, with host David Miller. Considering that poetry began as a spoken art form, this seems good and appropriate: We can all gather and listen around the virtual campfire. The show will be broadcast live 9-10 a.m., and rebroadcast 9-10 p.m. The shows are downloadable on the OPB Web site, too.

And that, fellow Scatterers, is the word.

Mr. Scatter shares the wealth

Mr. Scatter has been a writing fool lately, and not all of it for the virtual pages of this illustrious blog.

Louis Untermeyer, laureate lionine. Wikimedia Commons.He has also composed essays that resulted in actual financial recompense, including a trio of pieces for that fine and noble stalwart of legacy media, The Oregonian.

This piece, about Oregon’s search for a new poet laureate, analyzes the situation and reveals the two most important qualifications: a cool name and cool hair. In the old days it also helped if you could rhyme on a dime, but that is less important in our times of free and cut-rate verse. Mr. Scatter is given to understand that sometimes poems don’t rhyme at all!

Colley Cibber: Bad poetry, great hair. Wikimedia Commons.Mr. Scatter is, in fact, in favor of this position and its title, and he admires Oregon’s retiring laureate, Lawson Fusao Inada, in whose hands the post has been not simply ceremonial but also active and engaged: He has taken poetry and learning to the far corners of the state, in situations ordinary and unusual, and persuasively held that language matters.

Today, by the way, is the final day to nominate someone to be Oregon’s next laureate. Find out how here.

This morning’s Oregonian features this story about the artist Joe Feddersen, whose most recent museum exhibition, Vital Signs, is at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem.

Joe Feddersen. Photo: Mary RandlettIt’s a fine show, worth the trip. And speaking of trips, Mr. Scatter pauses for what might seem a brief diversion but in fact is not.

Mrs. Scatter ceaselessly admonishes Mr. Scatter that he should join a social network club called Facebook. Mr. PAW goes a step further, proclaiming loudly that Mr. Scatter must Tweet.

In fact, Mr. Scatter has trouble with the 200-odd emails that jam his computer daily, and does not fully understand his so-called “smart” telephone. So please drop in on this reconstruction of the interview portion of How Mr. Scatter Got That Story:
Continue reading Mr. Scatter shares the wealth