Zoom Link to Recording of the Sunday, January 17th W-E Bicoastal Poets Reading

January 19, 2021


The reading on Sunday, the 17th, offered another glimpse of the extraordinary diversity of work produced by poets right now. I wish to thank Lynn McGee and Susana H. Case, the founders of this reading series, and Carolyne Wright for their hard work in getting all of the behind-the-scenes work done to make this event happen and to make it available to those who could not attend.


Claudia Castro Luna (Washington state), John Guzlowski (Chicago), Dayna Patterson (Washington state) and Paul Vangelisti (Pasadena, California).

Brief commentary:
Claudia Castro Luna’s poem “Ask the Bees” is one of the best poems I’ve heard in a long time. Dayna Patterson’s VIDEO POEM “braided the waterfall” of image and phrase with poignant clarity. John Guzlowski’s poems of testimony about the Holocaust join with Gail Newman’s recent collection of poems (BLOOD MEMORY) as essential documents encumbering civilization’s capacity to succumb to evil. Paul Vangelisti read flawlessly from his most recent book: MOTIVE AND OPPORTUNITY.

Here is my introduction to Paul Vangelisti:

I have been reading Paul Vangelisti’s poems for almost a half-century now, and almost from the start I realized that he was the poet on the West Coast who best put into practice the international poetics I found in Michael Hamburger’s book, The Truth of Poetry. If Hamburger was the first post-WW II critic to implicitly remonstrate mainstream American poetry for its provincial insularity, then Paul Vangelisti is the poet-editor-publisher-translator In the past half-century whose status as a member of the avant-garde is always willing to undergo a rigorous self-interrogation. If exile from the city of his birth has found its improvised way-station in Los Angeles, he has put that contingency to good use. Today, he will read from a book that takes its cue from that quintessential Los Angeles genre, the noir. Motive and Opportunity summons the disenchanted, but bemused buoyancy of the detective novel and turns it into a meditation on the search for the methods we might use to establish the means, if not the meaning, by which we sustain ourselves. I present Paul Vangelisti.

Here is more on the poets, and where to buy their books:
CLAUDIA CASTRO LUNA is the Washington State Poet Laureate and served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015 to 2017. She is the author of Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press, 2017), a Finalist for the Washington State Book Award 2018; This City (Floating Bridge Press); and One River, a Thousand Voices (Chin Music Press, 2019). The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, she is a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and a Jack Straw Fellowship. Born in El Salvador, Castro Luna came to the United States with her family in 1981, during the Salvadoran civil war. Her non-fiction has appeared in the anthologies This is the Place (Seal Press) and Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative (Kalina Eds).
Learn more at castroluna.com
Link to purchase Killing Marias:
Link to purchase One River, a Thousand Voices:
JOHN GUZLOWSKI’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, North American Review, Rattle, Ontario Review, Salon.Com and many other journals. His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his award-winning memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). He is also a columnist for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy (the oldest Polish language daily in America) and the author of Suitcase Charlie and Little Altar Boy, noir mystery novels set in Chicago.
Link to John Guzlowski’s blog, Echoes of Tattered Tongues:
Link for buying True Confessions and John Guzlowkski’s other books:
DAYNA PATTERSON is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work and poembroideries have appeared recently in AGNI, Irreantum, The Maynard, and Tahoma Literary Review. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She was a co-winner of the 2019 #DignityNotDetention Poetry Prize judged by Ilya Kaminsky.
To learn more about Dayna Patterson, visit:
To purchase signed copies of books by Dayna Patterson, visit:
Order signed books!
To purchase unsigned copies of her books, visit:
PAUL VANGELISTI is the author of more than 30 books of poetry, as well as being a noted translator from Italian. His book of poems, Motive and Opportunity, was published this fall by Shearsman Books in the U.K. In 2015 he edited Amiri Baraka’s S.O.S.: Poems, 1961-2014, for Grove Press. In 2006, Lucia Re’s and his translation of Amelia Rosselli’s War Variations won both the Premio Flaiano in Italy and the PEN-USA Award. In 2010, his translation of Adriano Spatola’s The Position of Things: Collected Poems, 1961-1992 was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. From 1971-1982 he was co-editor, with John McBride, of the literary magazine Invisible City and from 1993-2002, he edited Ribot, the annual report of the College of Neglected Science (CONS). The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Vangelisti one of its first Translation Fellowships in 1981, and a Poetry Fellowship in 1988. Vangelisti was Founding Chair of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and currently lives in Pasadena.
To order Paul Vangelisti’s most recent book, visit here:

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