A Celebration of Poetry in Jazz

This creative music and poetry collaboration presents today's relevant and real poets in concert. This concert series is intended to bring our cultural heritage in jazz and poetry back to mainstream consciousness. These mature, thoughtful, emotional and philosophical art forms are outlets of our collective creativity.  These experiences are our experiences; our voices, our songs, our lives.

An ever-changing roster of poets use their diverse backgrounds, styles and ideas to bring our common experiences to life in thoughtful and expressive poetic story. These powerful and evocative  performances shine a light on the issues and challenges in our lives and society. These concerts are intended to be an inspiration for all to work and live together in more meaningful ways using our
differences as sources of insight and reflection.

Please help support these continuing efforts with your attendance and gifts.  

Past concerts included poets Paul Hunter, Leanne Grabel, Emmett Wheatfall, Oregon Poet Laureate Lawson Inada, Lynn Darroch, and Paula Small. Musicians have included Noah Peterson, Andre St. James, Larry Nobori, Gordon Lee, Eldon Jones, Frank Tribble, Gaea Schell, Jim Miller, Nathan Olsen, John Thomas, and Edwin Coleman III.

If you would like to bring "A Celebration of Poetry in Jazz" to your school or town,
Call or contact us today.    503-703-9516

Past Poets:

Lawson Inada was named Oregon State Poet in 1991 and served as the Oregon’s Poet Laureate from 2006-2010. His collection of poems “Before the War” was the first book of poetry by an Asian American to be published by a major New York publishing house.  Considered a pioneer in Japanese-American literature, Lawson has received many honors and awards including the American Book Award for  “Legends from Camp” in 1992; the Oregon Book Award for Poetry in 1997, the Pushcart Prize for Poetry in 1996 and was
honored at the White House for a “Salute of Poetry and American Poets.”  He is a Professor Emeritus of English at Southern Oregon University, has received two Poetry Fellowships from the NEA, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry in 2004 and currently serves as the Steinbeck Chair for the National Steinbeck Center. 

Paul Hunter is a poet, musician, instrument-maker, teacher, and editor and publisher. For over a decade, he has produced letterpress books and broadsides under the imprint of Wood Works Press, located in Seattle. His poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Bloomsbury Review, Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry and Poetry Northwest. He has been a guest on PBS as a poet, and is the author of several chapbooks and four books of poetry: “Ripening” (2006) and “Breaking Ground” (2005 Washington State Book Award), both published by Silverfish Review Press; “Mockingbird” (1981, Jawbone Press) and “Pullman” (1976, University of Washington Press).     http://www.woodworkspress.com/letter.htm

Leanne Grabel is a poet, a teacher, and co-founder of Cafe Lena, site of Portland's longest running poetry open mike. Known for her poetry-based theatrical performances and illustrated poetry chapbooks, including “Anne Sexton Was A Sexpot” and “The Last Weekend of Sylvia Plath”, as well as her poetry collections “Lonesome & Very Quarrelsome Heroes” and “Short Poems by a Short Person.” Grabel teaches language arts in a treatment center for incarcerated teenage girls which inspired her most recent work
"Badgirls." Grabel's memoir “Brontosaurus” will be published in late 2011.          

Emmett Wheatfall is a rising star in the world of poetry.  He burst onto the scene with a music and poetry collaborative recording titled, “When I Was Young;” Emmett was described as “…one of the most original and powerful debut jazz artists of the year” by Wine and Jazz Magazine.   Emmett’s newest CD of music and poetry, “I Loved You Once” is being release in late 2011.  
Emmett is a gifted orator; he has done voice-over work and is an annual presenter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s "I Have A Dream Speech" for various organizations during Black History Month.  He has two published collections of poems, “He Sees Things” and “We Think We Know” and an audio CD of his poetry entitled, “I Speak.”  Emmett has several poems published online for organizations celebrating and promoting African-American Poetry.                       Emmett Wheatfall on Spotify

Lynn Darroch has developed a unique method of telling stories in an interplay with live jazz and Latin music, captured on three albums: Local Heroes/American Originals (2009), Beyond the Border – Stories of the Latin World (2008) and Jazz Stories Heroes of the Americas (2006). He has also made a series of musical story videos available on YouTube, including the recent New Windows An American Photographer in the Balkans. A commentator on jazz and other music, Darroch has written for publications in the Portland area and in nationally circulated magazines and newspapers since 1979. He edits the monthly magazine, Jazzscene, and hosts the weekly radio show Bright Moments! on KMHD-89.1 FM in Portland, OR.  http://www.lynndarroch.com