The Olympia Poetry Network Presents
a rare evening with…
Joseph Stroud (Santa Cruz, CA)
Thomas Asland (Seattle, WA)
Tuesday March 3rd
@ Traditions Fair Trade Café
300 5th Ave SW
Joseph Stroud was born in 1943 in Glendale, California. He received his BA in Literature and Philosophy in 1966 and his MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University in 1968. He is the author of In the Sleep of Rivers (Capra Press, 1974), Signatures (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1982), Below Cold Mountain (Copper Canyon Press, 1998), Country of Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2004), Of This World: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), and four limited-edition chapbooks. He taught writing and literature at Cabrillo Community College for 35 years and co-hosted The Poetry Show on KUSP radio. His work has earned a Pushcart Prize and he is the recipient of the prestigious Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. His poems have been featured on National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He divides his time between Santa Cruz and a cabin at Shay Creek in the Sierra Nevada.
Thomas Aslin, who was born in Spokane, has a B.A. from the University of Washington and an M.F.A. from the University of Montana where he studied with the late Richard Hugo, Madeline DeFrees, and William Kittredge. In 2006 Red Wing Press of West Sacramento, California released a chapbook entitled Sweet Smoke and recently Clark City Press of Livingston, Montana published a full-length collection, A Moon Over Wings. Aslin presently lives and works in Seattle.
I think of Issa often these days, his poems about the loneliness
of fleas, watermelons becoming frogs to escape from thieves.
Moon in solstice, snowfall under the earth, I dream of a pure life.
Issa said of his child, She smooths the wrinkles from my heart.
Yes, it’s a dewdrop world. Inside the pear there’s a paradise
we will never know, our only hint the sweetness of its taste.
There was nothing better
than watching my father
slice strawberries into a soup bowl,
pour half-and-half over them,
and sprinkle granulated sugar over it all.
In season he loved eating ripe berries
as much as anything. And though I’d
watch him spoon them into his mouth,
I can not describe fully the pleasure
I took from watching him,
from having him sit beside me
eating those berries, reading the news,
sipping his coffee. And I’m convinced
that for a man like him, who was often
gentle then heartless within moments,
not much measured up to this red,
ripe fruit knuckled-up above a thick clot
of cream. This morning as I leave for work
I am immersed in the ripe smell of those berries,
the light pinkish hue of the cream
in the bowl, and his broad right hand
grasping the spoon.