LiTFUSE 2014

Friday - Sunday, September 26-28

THANKS to all who made LiTFUSE 2014 a rip-roaring success!  THANKS to Lorna Dee!  LiTFUSE loves its many Ace Champion Yodelors . . . 


LiTFUSE is honored to feature . . .


Lorna Dee Cervantes . . .                                 

is an internationally acclaimed poet whom the Poetry Foundation calls "one of the major voices in Chicana literature."  Her poetry, which celebrates her Mexican- and Native-American heritage from a strong feminist perspective, has appeared in nearly 200 anthologies and textbooks, including five of the Norton poetry anthologies (Modern, American, English, Contemporary, and Women’s Poetry), as well as Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (eds. Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan, 1994), No More Masks! An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Women Poets (ed. Florence Howe, 1993), and After Aztlan: Latino Poets of the Nineties (ed. Ray González, 1992).  Her 2014 book, Ciento, celebrates love in all its forms through the discipline of 100-word poems.  Lorna Dee is the author of the American Book Award-winning collection Emplumada (1981), as well as From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger (1991), which was awarded the Paterson Prize for best poetry book and the Latino Literature Award, and most recently, Drive: the First Quartet (2006).   Lorna Dee's rich body of work is the subject of 2012's book of critical essays, Stunned into Being, about which the poet Ana Castillo says, "This is what it means to be a poet, I tell myself, reading the thick, rich poems of Lorna Dee Cervantes. . . . If you love poetry, you’ve come to the right place." The recipient of many other honors, awards and literary fellowships, including the prestigious Lila Wallace-Readers’ Digest Award, a Pushcart Prize, and two NEA fellowships, Lorna Dee has performed her poetry twice at the Library of Congress, and at venues all around the United States and the world.  Lorna Dee founded and directed “Floricanto Colorado” showcasing Chicano literature in Denver and surrounding schools.  On July 4, 1976, she founded the influential small press and Chicano literary journal Mango Publications, which was the first to publish Sandra Cisneros, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Alberto Rios, Ray Gonzalez, Ronnie Burk, Orlando Ramã-rez (co-editor), and which also championed the early work of many other Chicano writers. Lorna Dee is a former Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and now makes her home in Olympia, Washington.    

& our 2nd Master Class instructor . . .


Melissa Kwasny is the author of five books of poetry, including Pictograph (forthcoming in 2015), The Nine Senses (2011), and Reading Novalis in Montana, which was listed as one of the top ten books of 2009 by The Huffington Post. Her work of literary non-fiction, Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision, appeared recently from Lynx House Press. Her work has been published in many journals, including The Kenyon Review, The Three Penny Review, Bellingham Review, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Cutbank, Willowsprings, and Orion.  Kwasny is also the editor of Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800-1950 (Wesleyan University Press 2004), which brings together many of the great prose pieces—essays, letters, declarations, defenses, manifestos, and apologia—by the most influential European and American poets from the Romantics to the Symbolists, Surrealists, and Moderns. It was recently listed by Poets and Writers Magazine as “one of the top 75 books for writers.” In response to the disclosures of torture at Abu Ghraib, she co-edited, with M.L. Smoker, an anthology of poems in defense of human rights, entitled I Go to the Ruined Place (Lost Horse Press 2009).  Kwasny has been awarded the Alice Fay di Castognola award from the Poetry Society of America, as well as the Cecil Hemley Award. She is the recipient of a Montana Arts Council Innovative Artists Award, and has been given fellowships at Ucross, Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. She lives south of Helena, Montana, in the Elkhorn Mountains.

& our spoken-word feature is . . .

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Karen Finnyfrock by Inti St. Clair

Karen Finneyfrock is a poet, novelist and teaching artist in Seattle, WA. Her young adult novel, The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door, was published by Viking Children’s Books in 2013. Her second book of poems, Ceremony for the Choking Ghost, was released on Write Bloody press in 2010.  She is a former Writer-in-Residence at Richard Hugo House in Seattle and teaches for Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers-in-the-Schools program. In 2010, Karen traveled to Nepal as a Cultural Envoy through the US Department of State to perform and teach poetry and in 2011, she did a reading tour in Germany sponsored by the US Embassy.    

& our 3rd Master Class instructor is a LiTFUSE ninja . . .

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Leonard Orr is a Professor of English at Washington State University Vancouver. He is the author or editor of thirteen books literary criticism or critical theory. His most recent critical books are Joyce, Imperialism, and Postcolonialism (Syracuse University Press, 2008), and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw (Continuum, 2009); he is currently completing An Introduction to Holocaust Literature. He was named the Lewis E. and Stella G. Buchanan Distinguished Professor of English (2005-08). His poetry has appeared in many journals including Black Warrior Review, Fugue, Poetry International, Poetry East, Natural Bridge, Isotope, Midwest Poetry Review, Pontoon, Rosebud. and His poetry chapbook, Daytime Moon, was published in 2005 by FootHills Press and WordTech/Cherry Grove published his book-length collections Why We Have Evening in 2010 and Timing Is Everything in 2012. He was a finalist for the T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize and the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize and was a semifinalist for the Floating Bridge Chapbook Prize and the William Stafford Poetry Prize. He has been a featured reader in many venues throughout the state, and he has led poetry workshops at the Burning Word Poetry Festival, LitFUSE!, and elsewhere. He served as president of the Washington Poets Association for three years. In recent years, he has taken up painting abstracts and had his work featured in a solo-exhibition of fifty paintings in 2007. Both his poetry and painting utilize a similar aesthetic based in spontaneity, surprise, and passion.  

& our mixed-muse feature is an artist we cannot do without . . .

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Deborah Faye Lawrence’s satirical collage artwork has been exhibited in solo shows on both U.S. coasts. In her work she combines found images with a combination of found journalism and her own text. Since the moment she adopted collage as a medium, her defiance of authority and rebellion against the status quo have been asserted through a process of cutting, manipulating and composing found information. For her 2008 book, Dee Dee Does Utopia (Marquand Books, Seattle), Lawrence asked 100 people to describe Utopia, and collaged their responses. During 2008, she was invited (inadvertently) by Laura Bush to create an ornament for the Bush White House Christmas Tree. Along with other words and icons, Deborah collaged the word "impeachment" on the ornament. Once it was hung on the tree, the artist alerted the Washington Post. A media frenzy ensued. The ornament was unceremoniously removed, and has allegedly been archived in the George Bush Presidential Library at Southern Baptist University.

Lawrence has received funding and awards from The Creative Capital Foundation, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Council, WESTAF/NEA, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and The California Arts Council, among others. Lawrence teaches on the MFA faculty at Seattle University, and teaches collage in community settings. A native of California, she has lived with her husband in Seattle since 1993.

& now meet the rest of our 2014 PoetWizards . . .

Ashley Capps

Ashley Capps received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first book of poems, Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields, was selected by Gerald Stern for the Akron Poetry Prize. The recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, she is at work on a second manuscript of poems. By day, she works as a freelance writer and editor with a special focus on farmed animal advocacy. She loves natural history.    

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Kathleen Flenniken (c) Roseanne Olson

Kathleen Flenniken is the 2012 – 2014 Washington State Poet Laureate.  Her books are Plume  (University of Washington Press, 2012), a meditation on the Hanford Nuclear Site, finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America and winner of the Washington State Book Award, and Famous (University of Nebraska Press, 2006),  winner of the Prairie Schooner Book prize and named a Notable Book by the American Library Association.  Flenniken’s other awards include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust.  She works with Writers in the Schools and other arts agencies bringing poetry to youth.


Holly J. Hughes is co-author of The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World (Skinner House Press, 2012), editor of the award-winning anthology, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press, 2009) and author of Boxing the Compass (Floating Bridge Press, 2007).  About her collection of poems Sailing by Ravens, forthcoming from University of Alaska Press in 2014, former Alaska Writer Laureate Nancy Lord writes: “Holly Hughes has found all her compass points in mapping this world with great intelligence, compassion, and meaning.”

A graduate of the Pacific Lutheran University MFA program, Hughes is a recipient of a Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship and residencies at Hedgebrook, Centrum and the Vermont Studio Center. Her poems have appeared in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies, including Dancing With Joy: 99 Poems (Random House), The Poet’s Guide to Birds (Anhinga Press), Working the Woods, Working the Sea (Empty Bowl Press), and America Zen: A Gathering of Poets (Bottom Dog Press).

Hughes teaches writing at Edmonds Community College, where she directs the Convergence Writers Series and received the Excellence in Education Award in 2012.  She has also spent over thirty summers working on the water in Alaska in a variety of roles, including commercial fishing for salmon, skippering a 65-foot schooner, and more recently, working as a naturalist on ships. 

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 Matt Gano is author of Suits for the Swarm, a poetry collection from MoonPath Press, and has been writing and teaching professionally since 2004. Matt has guest lectured at The Juilliard School in NYC and has worked international residencies teaching creative writing in Hong Kong for the Lee Shau Kee school of creativity and in Seoul Korea for the Youth Creativity Summit. He has represented Seattle at the National Poetry Slam multiple years and is the 2008 Seattle Grand-Slam champion. Matt is the founder of Youth Speaks Seattle’s famed program “The Writing Circle” and is currently an artist-in-residence with Seattle Arts and Lectures, Writers in the Schools. In May of 2014, Matt is scheduled as a featured poet and presenter for the Skagit River Poetry Festival.

Matt’s poetry has appeared in Drawn To The Light, an anthology for the Skagit River Poetry Festival, and Bestiary Magazine. Other published work includes chapbooks: Up From the Mine, Bones For The Builder, Music Maker, Welcome Home, I Eight the Infinite and Art Barker, a poetry LP entitled "Music Maker," and a live recording entitled "A Giant’s Pulse."

Plus . . . it's George Tirebiter, from Firesign Theatre! 


David Ossman first gained attention for his 1960 radio series “The Sullen Art,” interviews with contemporary poets, some of which were published in book form in 1963.  Also in that year “Set In A Landscape” was published by el corno emplumado (Mexico City).  In 1966, Ossman became a founding member of The Firesign Theatre, with a 46-year history of ground-breaking audio and stage productions.  He has edited five volumes of Firesign scripts.  A beautiful set of hand-made books and broadsides were printed by Turkey Press (Isla Vista) in the early 1980s.  Much of Ossman’s poetry has been first “published” on the radio, including three books ready for print, “The Old Man’s Poems,” “Marshmallows and Despair” and a Collected Poems.  With his wife, Judith Walcutt, Ossman has written, adapted and produced a string of audio and stage dramas beginning with “The War of the Worlds 50th Anniversary Production” in 1988.  Most recently they adapted and directed Agatha Christie’s “The BBC Murders,” with productions on Whidbey Island and in Florida.

& look who's back!  Christopher Howell’s tenth collection of poetry, Gaze, was released in 2012 by Milkweed Editions. His New and Selected volume, Dreamless and Possible, was chosen by Linda Bierds for the University of Washington Press’ Northwest Poets Series; and his Light’s Ladder, from the same series, won the Washington State Book Award in 2005. His poems, essays, and translations have also appeared in a number of anthologies and journals, including American Poetry ReviewAntioch ReviewColorado ReviewCrazyhorseDenver QuarterlyFieldGettysburg ReviewHarper’sHudson ReviewIowa ReviewNorthwest ReviewPoetry NorthwestSouthern Review and Volt. He has been recipient of three Pushcart Prizes and two National Endowment fellowships, as well as a number of other awards.  Christopher teaches creative writing at Eastern Washington University and is also director and principal editor for Lynx House Press.



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