Poetry Book Release Reading
Sally Albiso Award Winner
Bethany Reid
Debra Elisa

Sunday, December 3
3:00 PM Pacific Time

Live on Zoom

hosted by
Lana Hechtman Ayers

Debra Elisa's You Can Call It Beautiful was just published by MoonPath Press.

“Debra Elisa moves joyfully, with gratitude, respect, and generosity in the vast world she creates in You Can Call It Beautiful. She welcomes us into ‘the circle of friends who gather/in praise of poetry.’ In this collection, Elisa travels mindfully through the natural world where she lives, and where she sojourns, to bear witness to ‘the young/roaming streets of blood,’ and to the creatures whose names we praise with her—‘Yellow-Billed Cuckoo,’ ‘Malone Jumping Slug.’”
   —Willa Schneberg, Oregon Book Award recipient, author of The Naked Room


Today our Sun emerges no longer a gorgeous
dangerous orb of these Wildfire weeks.
Eagle Creek in Flames jumped the River
a state—and the Watershed no longer in peril.
Jays mimic up Copper Beech. Squirrels frisky
in the Walnut and Rats from our neighbor’s
Chicken coop storm through brittle Berry Bushes.
We invite the Dog’s trot along the Willamette
watch her tumble in the Grass the way she does
every time she meets it not a worry of tents
and cookware strewn or masks removed
or whether we’ll return tomorrow or next week
Waves cleansing the Beach or tumbling us under.
We toss a stick as she gallops—and watch the Sky.

Debra Elisa grew up in the shadow of Mount Rainier and fell in love with the land of the Pacific Northwest though longed to travel and learn how people live on the other side of the world. She studied in Glasgow and lived in the Philippines as a Peace Corp Volunteer. She has sat silent in monasteries, gazed up at birds in a sanctuary, and lived in New England for a half dozen icy winters. She met her husband while traveling in India. Together they rode buses along the Trans-American Highway from Guatemala to Argentina as part of a sabbatical. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, where they grow food in their backyard garden and can go days without driving a car. She leads Poetry Play and other creative workshops and offers Somatic Bodywork when not writing, cooking, or wandering in the woods or along coastal beaches. She blogs at www.l-i-t.org Live(s) Inspiring Today and welcomes your visit.s.

Visit Debra's Author Page at MoonPathPress.com

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Bethany Reid's The Pear Tree: elegy for a farm was just published by MoonPath Press.

2023 Sally Albiso Award Winner

The Pear Tree, an elegy for a farm is an elegant, sensory, satisfying collection of poems. Even in this nostalgic location, “chickens have to be fed, necks wrung” and still it is a place of “such good work.” Beauty and grief abound in nearly equal measure between remembered notes of “creeksong, birdsong, rain on leaves,” for “if a field of sorrow, another of joy.
—Lana Hechtman Ayers, contest Judge, author of Overtures

Packed with a century of images and sensory, sensual detail of Southwest Washington logging, farming, and family, this book transported me across time, place, and generations. More than a collection of poems, The Pear Tree expands these people and this place into an inspirational lament, lifting family and home to epic levels of life and struggle, love and wonder.
—Paul Marshall, author of Stealing Foundation Stones

The Wreck

It was winter, blackberry vines
dying back, when my older brother spied
the battered pickup truck
on the steep hillside below the barn.
That summer we wore a trail
crawling through brambles to the wreck,
thorns biting our knees and arms.
Lichen scrolled across the paint,
and rust had long ago locked shut
the doors. The upholstery was worn to springs
like a corpse to bone. We tugged
the steering wheel and choke,
tried to loosen the gas pedal
from the grip of time. I wanted to ask
Mom and Dad how it had come to be there,
what uncle or older cousin had driven it
over the lip of the hill and walked away.
My brother said it was our secret
and not to tell. And then, he gave it up,
leaving the wreck behind without a shrug
or a backward glance, easy in his choices
as he would be a few years later, giving up
his childhood faith. One more time I went alone,
sole survivor of a disaster I still can’t name.
Windshield a sky of cracked glass,
October berries sere,
bramble leaves dry as parchment.

Bethany Reid grew up in southwest Washington on a farm skirted by second-growth timber, in the house where her mother was born. Her father was a logger, her mother described herself as a housewife, but they were pillars of their small Pentecostal church, and the house brimmed with children, music, and books.

After earning an MFA in poetry and a PhD in American Literature from the University of Washington—her faculty advisors were Colleen McElroy and Dickinson scholar Vivian Pollak—Bethany taught writing and literature classes at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University, Edmonds Community College, and, for twenty years, at Everett Community College.

Her earlier poetry books are The Coyotes and My Mom (Bellowing Ark, 1990); Sparrow, which was selected by Dorianne Laux for the Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Award (Big Pencil Press, 2012); and Body My House (Goldfish Press, 2018). Bethany also has two chapbooks, Be Careful (Chuckanut Sandstone, 2005), and The Thing with Feathers (part of Triple No. 10 from Ravenna Press, 2020). Her poems have received numerous awards, including the Jeanne Lohmann Prize, and Calyx Journal’s Lois Cranston Memorial Prize. Her poems, short stories, and essays appear in many on-line and print publications, including Poetry Northwest, Adelaide, Prairie Schooner, Heartwood, Persimmon Tree, The MacGuffin, Peregrine, One Art, Catamaran, Kithe , and The Dewdrop.

Now retired from full-time teaching, Bethany divides her days between walking and writing. She has a passion for writers and writing of all sorts, leads a writing group, works with writers one-on-one, and teaches poetry classes whenever she has the chance. She and her husband live in Edmonds, Washington, near their three grown daughters. You can learn more about her at http://www.bethanyareid.com.

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