The Wieden+Kennedy Atrium: Kevin Sampsell belting out, "You are the unslickest motherfucker I have ever seen," his words echoing through the cathedral-high ceiling, bouncing around sparse arrangements of cement, steel, and wood, and up through 10-or-so rows of mostly full stadium seating. Sampsell kept the crowd laughing as he continued reading from "New Suburban Lit," a poem in eight parts that jokes about the sterile mythology of suburbia.
Nine other Oregon poets featured in the Burnside Review's Oregon Issue read at W+K last Thursday, August 20. Laton Carter read a poem about the United State's largest glacial erratic rock—which drifted north of Portland during the Ice Age, landing in Yamhill Valley. Carter recited, "Built into the act of showing is a desire to be a part, there's so much left to do," informing the rock as a symbol for our planet's endless environmental permutations.
While Carter wrote about a single item from Oregon's landscape, Andrew Michael Roberts wrote about the rain, dreamt of from a bus bench: "Where ever I am when asleep, the Oregon of my dreams arrives drenched in this same tenuous light, as if rain is an undiscovered idea and now this aloneness is my reward, for nothing happening to open my eyes." He ends this poem by asking, "Are we always arriving? And if so, when will we know when we're there?"
On Sunday, August 30, there's a second free reading at Rontoms with more recitations from poets featured in Burnside Review's Oregon Issue.