Saturday, April 08, 2006

Salmon times….

Last evening, Bill and I went to the Native American cultural center to hear American Indian elders and one writer/poet talk about the salmon.

To any non-northwesterners reading this, wild salmon are a big deal out here. To the indigenous people, they’re life itself.

The presentations were splendid. I was thrilled to get a chance to hear and talk to a favorite author, Elizabeth Woody (right, with petroglyph known as Tsagaglallal, or She-Who-Watches), who read from her new and old work. She is an incredible poet and essayist, and often writes about the salmon and about Celilo Falls, which—as you all know—is dear to my heart.

So, we had a wonderful evening.

I said I’d write more about my two writing classes, so here you go:

On Wednesday evenings I’ll be involved in a non-fiction master class. There are 12 students in the class, and we have four different teachers. First, the class is overseen by Michael McGregor, who directs the non-fiction writing program at PSU. Three weeks of the class will be taught by Karen Karbo, a writer-humorist. Three weeks will be taught by Lizzie Grossman, a nature and environmental writer. And three weeks will be taught by Brian Doyle, an essayist. It’s going to be really cool.

On Thursday evenings, I have “Forms of Non-Fiction” class, taught by Debra Gwartney. She is on the faculty at U of Oregon but comes to Portland once a week by train to teach here. She is an incredible writer and teacher and this will be a terrific class, albeit a lot of work—she books no slackage.

Thanks to these two classes, I’ll be reading a handful of books and writing several thousand words of new material. Whew. But it’s a good kind of pain.

Erin is here for the weekend—playing for Zach’s trumpet recital. Yay!

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