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Jonathan Potter

Jonathan Potter is a skater, a librarian, and the author of House of Words (2010) and Tulips for Elsie (2021). His poetry also appears in the Imago Dei, Railtown Almanac, and Spokane Writes anthologies, in a variety of journals, and on The Writer’s Almanac radio show and podcast. At various times and places from 2010 to 2020, Potter hosted Naked Lunch Break (a lunchtime poetry open mic and reading series), moderated the Poets of the Pacific Northwest and Poetry Salon panels at the Get Lit! literary festival, and contributed work to the Hotel Spokane, Only Time Will Tell, Verbatim, Pictures of Poets, and 50-Hour Slam poet/artist/photographer/filmmaker collaborative projects, happenings, and exhibits. He lives and works in Spokane, Washington, and can sometimes be found in Montreal.

  • Read an interview with Jonathan Potter at The Fine Delight.
  • Listen to Potter read “Turning Twenty-Five” from House of Words.

    Turning Twenty-Five

    Bringing me and Mom home from the hospital
    In 1965, my dad ran out,
    Hey-ho, of gas, hey-diddle-diddle,
    Son don’t cry now, it’s nothing to cry about,
    He sang at the top of the hill. We glided

    Into town on angel breath and I decided
    To be an astronaut or cattle man,
    Roam prairies undivided,
    Drive the lunar module into the sun.
    I followed my sister, down the path we’d race,

    Past Mead’s and the strange abandoned house
    To the orange brick school below.
    We moved to the city and found a place,
    Went every weekend to the show.
    Careening on skateboard into the empty pool

    And sailing up the vertical wall,
    Sixteen feet up, then into the air,
    I found myself above it all,
    Turning to descend I knew not where,
    And all those friends now gone,

    Gravity moves us not to return.
    I went to college, feigned deceits,
    Prayed to God and tried to pawn
    My very self for gross receipts—
    Which God in turn rolled up into a riddle.

    from House of Words