The current state poet laureate of Oregon is Kim Stafford, who was appointed in 2018. The director of Lewis and Clark College's Northwest Writing Institute, Stafford is the author of several collections of poetry, including A Thousand Friends of Rain: New and Selected Poems 1976-1998 (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1999).

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Aug 27 2018
Katie Ford in Conversation With Mary Szybist

The poems in Katie Ford’s fourth collection, If You Have to Go (Graywolf), implore their audience – the divine and the human – for attention, for revelation, and, perhaps above all, for companionship. The extraordinary sequence at the heart of Ford’s new book taps into the radical power of the sonnet form, bending it into a kind of metaphysical and psychological outcry. Beginning in the cramped space of selfhood – in the bedroom, cluttered with doubts, and in the throes of marital loss – these poems edge toward the clarity of “what I can know and admit to knowing.” Ford will be joined in conversation by Mary Szybist, author of Incarnadine.

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The more I go, the harder it becomes to return. To anywhere. There is no one at the ocean this morning. I walked by the campsites and smelled eggs and pancakes. And there were sweet Oregon cherries and watermelon. I wonder if I can go back—what purpose there would be in it—or in any other thing?

Siwashing It Out Once in Suislaw Forest

I slept under     rhododendron
All night    blossoms fell
Shivering on	a sheet of cardboard
Feet stuck   in my pack
Hands deep    in my pockets
Barely  able    to   sleep.
I remembered    when we were in school
Sleeping together   in a big warm bed
We were     the

i.         Powell’s Bookstore Coffee Shop, Portland

it’s all lit up with volcanoes
Chris says of Oregon
where I write of new fires
burning old animals
but there are these old fires
I don’t heed—

the xylophone of volcanoes
that is the Cascade Range