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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
March 12, 2012

Get Lit! in Sandpoint!

Lost Horse Press and the East Bonner County Library proudly present GET LIT! IN SANDPOINT! present on 11 April 2012 from 10 am until 8 pm at the Sandpoint Library Rude Girls Room. In conjunction with Spokane’s Get Lit! literary festival, Lost Horse Press and the Sandpoint Library bring you a taste of the region’s premier literary festival—Get Lit! in Sandpoint!—the day before Spokane’s extravaganza gets under way!

Three of Spokane’s Get Lit! presenters—Jonathan Johnson, Shann Ray & Russell Thornburg—will conduct poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction writing workshops at the Sandpoint Library on 11 April 2012. In addition, a Reading & Open Mic for workshop faculty, students, and the public will take place at 7 pm. Please contact Lost Horse Press at 208.255.4410 or for additional information or to register for the writing workshops. The workshops, reading and open mic are FREE and open to the public. A portion of this program is generously sponsored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts.


Shann Ray (fiction) | Writing Characters in Darkness and Light
The land, both urban and wilderness, can be ominous and filled of woe, or inviting and in fact lovely. Similarly the world that exists inside the person is filled of dark and light and the infinite shades of humanity that exist between the extremes of complete darkness and ultimate luminosity. Jung said, “The less embodied the shadow, the denser and blacker it is.” Of all the elements of writing great books, creating characters of depth and gravity is among the most necessary, elusive, and enduring. Important facets of Jung’s typology of the shadow will inform our work composing sentences and brief narratives for stories and novels about the heart of people and the heart of the landscape.

Jonathan Johnson (creative nonfiction/memoir) | Making Memoir from Memory
In this course we will use a number of writing prompts to elicit and shape memories into miniature essays and scenes. Students will take home strategies for continuing to create these mini essays and scenes that can eventually be stitched together into larger memoir manuscripts. This will be a supportive environment to focus on generating new work, an opportunity for any aspiring or experienced writer, from thirteen to a hundred, who wishes to capture and make something artful and lasting from their experiences.

Russell Thornburn (poetry) | Zones
Through scenes mostly forgotten in history, you recover the names of the lost and give them voices, for there is more to be said, but by someone who has suffered. A persona poem allows you to view humanity in a fresh way, provide evidence for those crimes that have gone without punishment. In recreating these moments, whether through the elliptical symbolism of Apollinaire, who says, “I love the grace of this industrial street/in Paris between the Avenue des Ternes and Rue Aumont-Thieville,” or the hard-edged Phil Levine, who searches for Lorca’s shadow, by starting with the very ground his shadow might have crossed in Granada, you allow these souls to walk the earth again—and inhabit your poetry.


Shann Ray’s collection of stories American Masculine (Graywolf Press), named by Esquire as one of Three Books Every Man Should Read and selected by Kirkus Reviews as a Best Book of 2011, won the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize. Sherman Alexie called it “tough, poetic, and beautiful” and Dave Eggers said Ray’s work is “lyrical, prophetic, and brutal, yet ultimately hopeful.” Ray’s creative nonfiction book of political theory Forgiveness and Power in the Age of Atrocity (Rowman & Littlefield) sheds light on the nature of categorical human transgressions and engages the question of ultimate forgiveness in the context of ultimate violence. The winner of the Subterrain Poetry Prize, the Crab Creek Review Fiction Award, and the Ruminate Short Story Prize, Ray’s work has appeared in some of the nation’s leading literary venues including McSweeney’s, Narrative, and Poetry International. Shann grew up in Montana and spent part of his childhood on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Spokane, Washington where he teaches leadership and forgiveness studies at Gonzaga University.

Jonathan Johnson’s book Hannah and the Mountain: Notes Toward a Wilderness Fatherhood is a memoir about building a secluded log cabin by hand with his wife on his family’s farm in Bonner County and attempting to live and raise a family there without running water or electricity. He is also the author of two books of poems, Mastodon, 80% Complete and In the Land We Imagined Ourselves. His work has appeared in the Best American Poetry and numerous other anthologies, as well as Southern Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, North American Review, and The Prairie Schooner. Johnson migrates between his cabin in Westmond, Idaho, upper Michigan, Scotland, and eastern Washington, where he is a Professor in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Eastern Washington University.

Russell Thorburn is the author of four books of poems: Approximate Desire, Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged, The Drunken Piano, and The Whole Tree as Told to the Backyard. Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged is Thorburn’s personal odyssey of crossing the half-century mark, a journey chronicled and held open to us readers as if we are watching a not so foreign film. He has received numerous grants, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. He is the editor of three anthologies of middle school poetry: Wheat Fields with Poetry and Crows, Pencils on Fire, and Word River. His radio play, Happy Birthday James Joyce, was aired four times on a National Radio affiliate, and was performed on Off-Off-Broadway. Thorburn teaches poetry in a small mining town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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