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Ghost Town Poetry: Cover To Cover Books 2004-2010: An Anthology of Poems from the Ghost Town Open Mic Series Paperback – April 14, 2011
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About the Author
Published poets Christopher Luna and Toni Partington form a unique editing team of creative and technical skills. Individually, their achievements are noteworthy. Jointly, they bring 25 years of combined literary experience. To learn more visit Printed Matter Vancouver www.printedmattervancouver.com or www.christopherluna-poetry.blogspot.com
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The reading series curators, Christopher Luna and Toni Partington, have made a bargain with the public, and one of their tenets is to let nothing second rate appear in their book. Thus we get the best work from each poet, even the ones famous on a national level, like Michael Rothenberg or David Meltzer (Meltzer, after all, was one of the original New American Poets anointed by Donald M Allen in an influential 1960 anthology, so he knows first hand how a good anthology can change a person's life). I was awed to think that a single book could give me am in-the-round picture of a single American city, like the old modernist classics such as Spoon River Anthology, but here it goes again. Rob Gourley's "US 250" describes, in broken, dynamic rhythms, a favorite "cruise," in which, through the magic of memory, once again "we jump across the creek/ to reach the pumphouse and roam the slanting cowpaths."
Another Vancouverite, Bernadette Barriom opens up the world of children inching closer to adulthood and the pains of the mother as she prides themselves on their growth, while at risk of losing "that child-like charm they possess." Reading lines like this make me wonder if sometimes I overthink things and in doing so, I miss out on some of the more poignant experiences of life. "I am a rich man, and I am surrounded by beauty," writes co-editor Luna in a stirring preface. Other Vancouverites include Rainy Knight, who speaks of the long ago decade in which Elvis Prssley visited Washington State, and she met and dated him, and another fine writer, Christi Krug, who recalls dealing with an infirm mother and coping with dementia. "Now I make beds for Mother's words/ Pulling sterile folds tight/ Smoothing edges around her complexes/ Snug and out of harm's way."
The mind of the poet is frequently topsy-turvy, perhaps that is why we turn to poetry in times of economic and cultural challenge, such as today. Luna and Partington have done a sterling job gathering together the best work of many poets I've never heard of and sending their wisdom all across the world like a "coastal spirit courier, a rain-free olive branch."
You mean, Vancouver British Columbia, don't you?
No, I mean Vancouver, Washington, that little city across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.
Well, I got an interesting poetry anthology to tell you about that hails from that city.
Oh, no! Not poetry?
Shut up your face and listen.
Christopher Luna (recently named Clark County's Poet Laureate) and Toni Partington have put together a collection of poems selected from the poetry of those who have read at the Ghost Town Poetry open mic from 2004 through 2010. The open mic which includes featured poets from California to Seattle (and points East of the Cascades but West of the Rockies) takes place the 2nd Thursday of every month at a little book store in North Vancouver, called Cover To Cover Books. Google if you don't believe me. Mostly free verse, the collection—Ghost Town Poetry: Cover To Cover Books 2004-2010: An Anthology of Poems from the Ghost Town Open Mic Series (Whew!)—is a lively representation of all that poetry has to offer in the Pacific Northwest. You can't help but be entertained while you get an idea of the kind of poetry that the West Coast has long been known for. Production values are top notch so it's a good-looking book to hold in hand as well as a handsome read. Also, friends, if you've never experienced an open mic event, I tell you that a read through Ghost Town Poetry will give you a delightful taste of that experience. So buy the book and go to an open mic event. You'll be glad you did.
PS: In December 2013 look for another Ghost Town Poetry anthology by means of which Christopher and Toni will mark 10 years of putting together open mikes at Cover To Cover Books.