Poetry Workshop with Mark Anderson

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2022, 2:30 PM – 4 PM

Boots Bakery & Lounge, 24 W. Main St., Spokane, Washington

Come write with former Spokane Poet Laureate Mark Anderson. 

Has writer’s block got you down? Have you been plagued by a case of immobile pen since you graduated an MFA ten years ago? Want to write your first poem and you don’t know how? In this drop-in and beginner-friendly workshop series we will be reading great poems and launching into generative writing prompts. It’s important to me that participants will leave having discovered great poems and fresh perspectives on poetry, and having looked at how we can incorporate small bits of meaning into our own writing practices. This is a space for exploration, and for treating each piece of writing like a new adventure. $25 suggested (pay whatever is feasible and sustainable for you)

Cover Art by Tiffany Patterson

Design by Thom Caraway

For the book by Mark L. Anderson

Soon to be published by Korrektiv Press

Scarecrow Oracle, Coming Soon

Mark Anderson’s Scarecrow Oracle (coming soon from Korrektiv Press) opens by “Going Backwards to Where It Starts” and then takes us forward through the speaker’s childhood into his early adulthood, traveling through time as he stays rooted in place–the Spokane Valley, The Empyrean Coffee Shop, the Rockford Fair. The question the speaker is always asking is how to live in a world steeped in loss. Early in the collection, the young speaker asks a dandelion this question, and in response, “it lets go of everything it has ever been.” Towards the end, the older speaker, less stunned now by the dandelion’s quick vanishing, tells us as he performs the ordinary act of making his bed, “I want to be ready to be a ghost or a nothing…./ And when the time comes I part the curtains / and let in the astonishing day.” Anderson’s book translates the silences and fears of childhood and early loss into a series of images that answer, beautifully and without explanation, his difficult question. — Laura Read

When you live inside Mark Anderson’s poems, someone a bit like an oracle speaks to you in almost but not-at-all ordinary speech, you give up sleep for most of your life, death crowds close but the poet bravely writes it away, you feel the terror of a crawl space and the patience of a jellyfish with the “body of a half-sealed / Ziplock bag / flushed down the / grime filled gutter, / inexplicably filled / with life / instead of a sandwich,” and you learn “We came to the Earth to have / feelings.”  And you have feelings. It’s an extraordinary place to be.   — Kathleen Flenniken

Mark L. Anderson lives and writes in Spokane, Washington. He co-founded the popular Broken Mic spoken word poetry series and has traveled the United States performing at open mics, poetry slams, taverns, coffee shops, and libraries. From 2017 to 2019 he served as Spokane’s poet laureate. Scarecrow Oracle is his first book.

‘… On the Wings of the Wind …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

… he came, cherub-mounted, borne up on the wings of the wind….

Pslam 18:11

‘… Still With You.’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘… I rose up and am still with you.’

Psalm 139: 18

‘… His Sepulchre Shall Be Glorious.’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

In that day the root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.’

Isaiah 11: 10

‘Let Him Not Lose What He So Dear Hath Bought.’

From Cell 25 of the Convent of San Marco, by Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), 15th Century

Think on the very làmentable pain,

Think on the piteous cross of woeful Christ,

Think on His blood beat out at every vein,

Think on His precious heart carvèd in twain,

Think how for thy redemption all was wrought:

Let Him not lose what He so dear hath bought.

–Pico della Mirandola (translated by St Thomas More)

‘… Wounded for Our Iniquities …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘… he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins….

Isaiah 53: 5

‘They Parted My Garments Amongst Them….’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.’

Psalm 22: 19

‘… He Shall Be Led as a Sheep to the Slaughter …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.’

Isaiah 53: 7

‘I am ready for scourges….’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘For I am ready for scourges: and my sorrow is continually before me.

Psalm 38: 18

‘I have not turned away my face …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.

Isaiah 50:6

‘… They Strike the Cheek of the Judge of Israel.’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘ Now shall you be laid waste, O daughter of the robber: they have laid siege against us, with a rod shall they strike the cheek of the judge of Israel.’

Micah 4:14

‘…They Shall Bind You…’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘And you, O son of man, behold they shall put bands upon you, and they shall bind you with them: and you shall not go forth from the midst of them. And I will make your tongue stick fast to the roof of your mouth, and you shall be dumb….’

Ezekiel 3: 25-26

‘…Even the Man Who Ate My Bread….’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

… Even the man … in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has greatly supplanted me.’

Psalm 41: 10

‘…My Victim, Which I Slay for You…’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘Assemble yourselves, make haste, come together from every side to my victim, which I slay for you, a great victim upon the mountains of Israel: to eat flesh, and drink blood.’

Ezekiel 39:17

‘…Be Clean…’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘… when you multiply prayer, I will not hear: for your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes, cease to do perversely, learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow.’

Isaiah 1: 15-17

sunrise a momentary dream field

sunrise image

december

1.
humanity’s trees
will see what happens
in the middle of nowhere

thanks for the update and for
the only thing that
the only thing is

[all but the first line written with keyboard suggestions]

2.
southeastward yellow
sunrise unfurls its
brief banner of buoyant blue

sky a longing lavender
ladder to climb out
of darkening thoughts

3.
clouds above below
the morning fog that
rubs its back along the hills

sunrise a momentary
dream field of faintly
glowing marigolds

4.
again great river
bring down new colors
ravaged tinged periwinkle

blanched silverfringed brakelight orange
long-distance lovelight
mirrored memories

5.
morning’s rhythmic
glacial paradox
speed of light and enormous

infinitesimal near-
ness near pausing
distantly changing

6.
drab slab of monday
sky like a weak nudge
when a hammer’s what’s needed

to crush the brain’s hard dark beans
and steep them in light
to negate the night

7.
the bridge to winter
carries my gray dreams
over the great gray river

reflecting the absence of
the consolation
of sunrise or sleep

8.
immaculate sun
rising in the wind
bursting from under blankets

of clouds a woman waking
on her fortieth
birthday breathing light

9.
the disappointment
of seeking sunrise
in the sadness of a town

a pretty how town but sad
in its brushfire heart
and cloud drift dream light

*
cauldron of morning
burning through bare limbs
over unaware rooftops

distant furnace fire glowing
deep in the heart of
impending winter

10.
the gods’ persimmons
glowing in the east
queen of heaven pray for us

and clouds like fermenting plums
storing drunken sleep
for the winter blues

11.
a river’s disguise
of cloud-cloaked sunrise
at the railroad bridge at dawn

a light afoot that muggles
don’t notice climbs a
dark enormity

12.
humble lovely bridge
unassuming violet
clouds with creamy bright

curlicues of light
dispelling autumnal night
and darkness’s arc

13.
cable bridge sunrise
black dog rabbitbrush
river flowing in the now

carrying gifts to the sun
frankincense skyline
clouds of mystic myrrh

14.
the sun is rising
behind a curtain
of dark and light shades of blue

behind the blue bridge that spans
the big blue river
glistening with birds

15.
beguiled by colour
three time zones away
when i woke far too early

and my co-conspirator
televideoed
what i then screenshot

16.
thin band of faintly
gleaming alice blue
sandwiched by bland grey above

and the numb brown of autumn’s
somber surrender
to winter below

17.
words are too worn out
or not worn enough
insufficient to the task

they can only fall prostrate
to the snowy ground
and stammer eastward

18.
approaching solstice
no sun evident
just snow and fog and the sound

of the day reluctantly
getting underway
and blessëd coffee

19.
this is what passes
for sunrise winter
standing at the door smiling

grimly icy sickle teeth
somber cloudy shrouds
and christmas cookies

20.
flying towards sunrise
breathing burning coals
glowing from last night’s campfire

clouds are smoldering ashes
powdery and dark
the airplane my tent

21.
reconciled to snow
back yard relaxes
into the mind of winter

pandemic blessings
glad isolation
gold nugget sunrise

22.
jesus in the snow
nature’s new year’s day
you want to travel with him

and you want to travel blind
across the water
to that paradise

23.
clouds stained with the night
drift casually
over sweet potato skies

the river used to freezing
this time of year gives
itself to sunrise

24.
tanager-like sun
beginning its slow
migration from solstice day

towards the spring equinox
furtively orange
bringing glad tidings

25.
sun costuming clouds
on christmas morning
out the window all we see

is snow falling on the warm
antiquity of
self and flakes of love

26.
behold the sunrise
masked to protect us
from deadly december rays

the virus of happiness
that would infect us
if we dare let it

27.
no one waiting here
hear the beating heart
now here now nowhere no one

the heart of winter waiting
no one hearing now
here one sunrise pulse

28.
winter means something
snow some nothing thing
hiding something underneath

sunrise hidden like a bulb
a magic nothing
a secret something

29.
there is no sunrise
no rise no risen
sun hidden within itself

keeping its own secret safe
for the hills and trees
frozen in their dreams

30.
the bleak midwinter
the bleak midwinter
the bleak midwinter the bleak

midwinter is in my soul
sunrise on my mind
the bleak midwinter

31.
we wake up and drive
to the horizon
to inspect the frozen fog

concealing the last sunrise
of this year of grace
the day of your birth