You are invited to join Grayson Books for Poets in Conversation: A Zoom Poetry Series Hosted by Phyllis Klein on Saturday, May 22, 2021, at 4:00pm Pacific. Grayson authors Jed Myers and Charles Rafferty will share poems and conversation in this eighth installment of the series.

NOTE: to request a Zoom link, send an email to poetry[AT]phyllispoetry.com.

Jed Myers (above, left) lives in Seattle. He is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and three other chapbooks. Recent honors include the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize, and the Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken. Jed will read from his award winning chapbook, Love’s Test.

Charles Rafferty’s most recent collections of poems are The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017) and Something an Atheist Might Bring Up at a Cocktail Party (Mayapple Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, O, Oprah Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and Ploughshares. His stories have appeared in The Southern Review and New World Writing, and his story collection is Saturday Night at Magellan’s (Fomite Press, 2013). He has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, as well as the 2016 NANO Fiction Prize. Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College and teaches at the Westport Writers’ Workshop. He’ll be reading from his book of prose poems, The Problem With Abundance.

For Whose Eyes and Ears

February 20, 2021

This is a guest post
by Jed Myers

In the lore of therapy, it’s said a person’s emotional state will improve with keeping a journal. The benefit holds even if the journal entries are never shared with another soul. Does that mean we need only ever spell things out for ourselves alone? Or does it mean that the act of writing is so fundamentally relational, no actual other is needed for the experience of being heard and understood by another?

Words have evolved for the conveyance of one being’s experience to another. So even when we speak in our imaginations, talk to ourselves, or write our private entries, we are invoking the presence of another, however invisible.

I do wonder, for whose eyes do we place the words of our reflections on the page? In whose ears do we hope our written words will ring? And whose are the minds and hearts we want to stir with what we’ve written?

I’m sure there’s no simple or single answer to any such questions. But I’m also sure — from tuning in to my own process of writing, if by nothing else — that there is an envisioned other, or a collection of others, that we’ve got a representation of in the wings of the act of writing, to whom, in the writing, we’re speaking.

Maybe this goes against a kind of purist’s notion of writing only for oneself. I don’t know. It could be that an implicit other just like oneself, a mirror twin, so to speak, is such a purist’s other. The writing that would emerge in that spirit might be more idiosyncratic, harder for the rest of us to “get,” but it might be in its own way just right — the words chosen and arranged for the dear twin who will understand perfectly.

Then there’s the writing for a different other, or for a gathering (in the mind’s amphitheater) of others of varied sensibilities. Perhaps these are the presences some of us want to touch with our words. These imagined others might stand in for real expectable readers in the world. We can’t be sure how they’ll hear us, as we don’t know just how they think and feel. How will our poems ring with them?

That question’s at my shoulder while I work out my lines. It can serve to press me, word by word, closer to the marrow, where I’ll find more intuitive sureness of common feeling, even across cultures and times.

I like to invite one odd other to the gathering and to be sure that figure’s listening — a guest from some time in the future, when my life’s been over long enough that those who’ve remembered me are gone. I reach for what might make that other grateful to have stumbled onto my words. I’ll write what I need to say — as if in my journal — that will also close the rift of space and time, so that my guest might feel that a hundred years ago is more or less last week. That’s what I feel sometimes reading Sappho or Du Fu — the intimacy of distant solitudes.

. . . . .

Jed Myers lives in Seattle, where, aside from writing, he’s a psychiatrist with a therapy practice and a Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Washington. He’s author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels (Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award) and Love’s Test (winner, Grayson Books Chapbook Contest). Recognitions include Southern Indiana Review’s Editors’ Award, the Prime Number Magazine Award, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Prize, and The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize. Poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, multiple anthologies, including Two-Countries: US Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen Press) and Take a Stand: Art Against Hate (Raven Chronicles Press), and many other publications. Poems are forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Tupelo Quarterly, Cutthroat, Sequestrum, and Galleywinter Poetry Series. Two essays on poetry and medicine have appeared in JAMA. Jed is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.

Jed Myers will co-feature with Charles Rafferty in the Poets in Conversation reading series on Saturday, May 22, 2021, 4:00pm Pacific. Details and access information will be posted on this site and on The Poetry Department Calendar page.

Author photo by Alina Rios
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book launch, etc.

August 13, 2019

David Ossman, perhaps best known for his work with the Firesign Theatre, writes poems. Egress Studio Press publishes exceptionally beautiful hand-stitched books.

This Saturday, August 17, 2019, Egress Studio will host a book launch party for Ossman’s new Egress-published collection, The Old Man’s Poems. In addition to a pre-reading potluck supper, the event will include a performance by Seattle’s Band of Poets, a music and poetry group featuring John Burgess, Anna Jenkins, Jed Myers, Ted McMahon, and Rosanne Olson. (Parking is limited and carpooling is encouraged.)

For more information, here’s a post by Anita K. Boyle, and here’s the event on Facebook.

there’s still time…

February 7, 2019

There are four remaining spots in each of the Egress Studio workshops scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, March 9, 2019. Raúl Sanchez and Jed Myers will each offer a two-hour workshop on the theme of Mixing Poetry & Politics, held at Egress Studio in Bellingham. See the complete workshop descriptions, poet bios, and enrollment information on the Egress Studio blog. And if you plan to sign up, don’t delay!

Today in Kirkland!

July 21, 2018

There’s still time to get on over to BookTree in Kirkland, Washington, for today’s highly recommended workshop, reading, open mic, and music featuring poet/musician/psychiatrist Jed Myers.

The free workshop, “Putting Your Heart on the Line,” 4:30 to 6:00pm, will integrate some talk, some writing, and possibly some reading of what participants write. Then from 6:15 to 8:18pm the poetry reading and open mic will feature Jed Myers and the Band of Poets — Ted McMahon (percussion), Rosanne Olson (harmonica, guitar), Anna Jenkins (harp), John Burgess (various effects), and Jed Myers (guitar).

You’ll have a chance to see (and purchase?) a copy of the gorgeous, brand new book by Myers, Between Dreams and Flesh, published and handmade by Egress Studio Press.

Go!

book launch

July 13, 2018

Celebrate the art of poetry and the poets who make it happen on Friday, July 20, 2018, as Village Books hosts a book launch and reading.

Award-winning poet Jed Myers will read from his new book, Between Dream and Flesh, a handmade limited-edition publication from Egress Studio Press. He will be joined by poet and fiction writer Lana Ayers (founder, publisher, and managing editor of MoonPath Press) who will read from her illustrated handmade book, The Moon’s Answer (Egress Studio Press), as well as other poems. James Bertolino will read selections from a variety of his poetry publications.

Raven lands in Kirkland

February 9, 2018

You’re invited to join RAVEN CHRONICLES PRESS
and BookTree, an Independent Bookstore,
at a free reading and reception for
Raven Chronicles Journal Vol. 25: Balancing Acts
Saturday, February 17, 2018, 6:15-7:30pm

Paul Hunter will emcee and readers include Luther Allen, Ed Harkness, Alicia Hokanson, Thomas Hubbard, Jill McCabe Johnson, Jed Myers, and Mary Ellen Talley. An open mic will follow the reading.

In this issue of Raven Chronicles, edited by: Anna Bálint, Phoebe Bosché, Matt Briggs, Paul Hunter, and Doug Johnson, writers and artists examine the theme “Balancing Acts” — how we live our lives fully, and maintain our relationship with the earth/planet and the diversity of life on it.

. . . . .
cover art by Jeannie Grisham

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