February WordFest celebrates Northwest voices

Three Northwest writers will read from their works at WordFest on Tuesday, February13, 6:00-8:00 pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Avenue in Longview.

Roots is K.A. (Krysten) Ralston’s second collection of poems in which she celebrates the beauty and chaos of the natural world and how it so often mirrors the workings of the human heart. Her poems speak to love, heartbreak, healing, motherhood, and mental health.

The Longview poet graduated from WSU Vancouver with a degree in English and creative writing. Her work has been featured in the Salal Review, the Salmon Creek Journal, and the Columbia River Reader. You can connect with Krysten at karalston.com or via social media on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. 

D. Randall Faro is a retired Lutheran preacher and motivational speaker. His experiences in the killing fields of Vietnam and apartheid-gripped Namibia, global travels in some two dozen countries, and decades of working for peace with justice in North America provide the context for his novels. He lives with his wife of 57 years in Olympia, WA.

Gunnar is the second installment in the Jedediah Bazo series. It picks up where Bazo ended, with Gunnar and his daughter wondering how they are going to put their lives back together after the horrific events of the previous half year. Elements of Gunnar’s past invade his attempt at fashioning a new start with Tuyen in the Portland, Oregon area. Instead of the peaceful life he seeks, it becomes a fight for survival as the effects of child sex-trafficking impacts their lives.

Sally Jones began penning poetry and stories when she was 11 years old and she has never lost her enthusiasm for writing. During her a 38-year career in 9-1-1 communications, and as a long-time volunteer for domestic violence shelter programs, she wrote professional reports, grants, manuals, and media releases. During this time, she also continued writing poems, a number published in college and local literary publications. At WordFest, Sally will read a poetry selection in keeping with thoughts of love for Valentine’s Day week.

An open mic will follow the presentations.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, in the fellowship hall of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The events are free and open to the public.

First WordFest of 2024

The first WordFest event for 2024 is Tuesday, January 9, 6:00-8:00 pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Avenue in Longview.

Woodcut artist and printmaker Debby Neely will show and talk about her recently published book, Words and Wood: Pacific Northwest Woodcuts and Haiku, featuring 70 reproductions of woodcuts created over the past 40 years. In 2011, Debby picked up a small book of haiku and after a few chapters, found herself writing haiku to accompany her woodcuts.  “This has added a whole new depth of meaning to my work,” she says. “Haiku help me add a dimension about how I feel about the world and the necessity to protect and cherish the world around us.”

Shamus Award Finalist Tom Larsen will be reading from Stealing History, a Wilson Salinas Mystery of Ecuador, and Parish Memories, a book of oral tales and legends that he translated into English during the time he lived in Ecuador.

Retired judge Ed Putka will be reading one of his Cleveland stories, about the blessing of the houses in his old neighborhood, titled “Koleda,” which means Christmas carol in Polish.

An open mic will follow the presentations.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, in the fellowship hall of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The events are free and open to the public.

Last WordFest of the year salutes veterans

The final WordFest event for 2023 will honor veterans and their sacrifices to our nation on Tuesday, November 14, 6:00-8:00 pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Avenue in Longview.

Lilly Robbins Brock will read from her latest memoir/biography, Young Warrior: The Life & Times of a WWII Veteran. Marion Robert Shipe was underage when the United States entered the war. On his eighteenth birthday, he stepped up to serve his country, trading his fishing pole for a Browning Automatic Rifle. As in her previous WWII memoir/biographies, Lilly tells this veteran’s story against a well-researched backdrop of the times, blending the Big Picture with the ground-level saga of one soldier.

From the battle of the Ruhr to joining Patton’s Third Army as it pushed southward to destroy the final Nazi stronghold, Lilly and Robert Shipe take us into that place of life and death called war.

Lilly was born in Olympia, Washington, where her pioneer family homesteaded in the late 1800s. She loves history and one of her passions has been researching her family genealogy, inspiring her to write her historical fiction novel series, Intrepid Journey.  Lilly has also written four  memoir/biographies honoring members of the Greatest Generation who served our country during World War II: Wooden Boats & Iron Men, Ever a Soldier, and Victory on the Home Front. Young Warrior is her most recent book, telling the story of Robert Shipe who turns ninety-eight on December 30.

Robert Griffin has been writing poetry before he even knew what it was.  He began writing at the age of 6 years old.  Many times when unable to sleep, he would quietly creep into the dining room where he would write at the table whatever spirit moved him to express. His readings will reflect Love, Hope, Thankfulness, Rebirth, with a few surprises mixed in. 

Retired Longview librarian Hans Schaufus has been including short fictional stories into his annual holiday letters since 1996. He will read several of his humorous Christmas tales including one set in North Dakota, about a rising star badminton player and a one-armed woman mountain climber who meet under unexpected circumstances.

An open mic will follow the presentations.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, in the fellowship hall of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The events are free and open to the public.

October WordFest offers new works by local authors

Three Northwest writers will read from their work at the next WordFest event on Tuesday, October 10, 6:00-8:00 pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Avenue in Longview.

Poet Debra Elisa Wöhrmann will read from her debut collection, You Can Call It Beautiful, published by MoonPath Press, 2023. This poetry collection is a mosaic of joy and grief, offering glimpses into the loss and trauma that can shape a family. Other poems in the collection celebrate travel that can open us to wonder, and inspire in us the grit required to change, to cultivate, and to nourish each other.

Debra grew up in the shadow of Mount Rainier, connecting with nature from a young age. Having taught at Lower Columbia College for ten years, she now leads creativity workshops and enjoys inspiring creative expression. She writes poetry, fiction, and blogs at Live(s) Inspiring Today, www.l-i-t.org, and lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and dog.

D.K. Greene will read from her book, Where Bodies Lie, a Pacific Northwest serial killer novel with a twist. Peter is approached by the FBI, asking him for help in solving a decades-old cold case. It will require him uncovering dark secrets from his family and reconnecting with his convicted serial killer father. Peter becomes torn between finding justice and following in his father’s murderous footsteps.

Denise is a prolific writer of twisty crime mysteries that blur the lines between hero and villain. Author of the Killers Club series and the Mommy Mysteries series, she lives in Longview with her wife and son.

Award-winning author and WordFest coordinator Alan Rose will preview his newest novel, The Untimely Death and Life of Damian Greer.  The Corvisiero Literary Agency in New York City is currently representing the work to publishers. In his new novel, Alan has re-imagined Oscar Wilde’s classic tale, The Picture of Dorian Gray, for our age, creating a stinging social critique of  the cult of celebrity and the  manufacturing of fame.

Alan’s previous novel, As If Death Summoned (Amble Press, 2020) won the Foreword INDIES (small independent publishers) award for the LGBT category and was featured in the Oregon Historical Society’s 2021 exhibit, “Forty Years of HIV/AIDS in Oregon.”

An open mic will follow the presentations.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, in the fellowship hall of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

The events are free and open to the public.

WordFest launches 2023 fall season

WordFest resumes for its fall season on Tuesday, September 12, 6:00-8:00 pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Avenue in Longview.

Cathlamet poet and writer Dayle Olson kicks off the season’s offerings, reading her recently published short story, “The Mourners,” as well as a number of her poems about life on the Lower Columbia River. Handmade pocket zines featuring her poetry and drawings will be available for purchase.

Dayle is active with The Writer’s Guild of Astoria and co-hosts a monthly radio program, River Writers, on KMUN 91.9 FM. She hosts a quarterly Writers Open Mic at RiverMile 38 brew pub in Cathlamet (next event on Tuesday, October 24, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM). Her work has appeared in The Salal Review, RAIN Magazine, Litmora Magazine, Haunted Words Press, The Dirigible Balloon, Timber Ghost Press and North Coast Squid. In 2022, she was invited to read her poetry at the Angry Ghosts Poetry Competition in Suffolk, England.

Linda Eddleston will be discussing the creative writing process for her novel, Just Call Me Frank,  a book is based on her father’s stories about his teenage years riding the boxcars during the Depression. The story captures his hard childhood and his wanderlust spirit. When writing the book, Linda felt she was on a train journey herself, reliving that time and the places her father experienced decades before. 

Linda is a retired elementary and special education teacher.  Her first book, My Three Friends, is also based on true stories, particularly the endearing friendships maintained over many years overcoming distance, difficulties, and differences.  

John Koehler will be reading from his novel, Dancing in the Red. The story follows Rosary Pinyon, who has a PhD in Economics as she searches for ways to help Native American reservations out of poverty.

John considers himself a serious hobby writer. A longtime member of the Science Fiction Novelists online critique group, he has provided proofreading for novels written by three-time New York Times best-selling author, Michael J. Sullivan. His short story, “Pony Express,” appeared as the cover story in Oct-Dec 2003 issue of the alternative history online magazine, Would That It Were.

An open mic will follow the presentations.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, in the fellowship hall of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The events are free and open to the public.