Category: salem writes

Running Away To Salem

Not very promising is it to run away to Salem. Will it solve anything? Yet on a drizzly November day in 1938 a young man, call him Frank, in the throes of repeating his senior year in high school, with his little sister in hand, caught a bus in Tacoma and headed south to refuge. Things were falling apart at home. Money was tight. The folks were fighting; divorce loomed. Frank feared for the welfare of his five year old sister Pat. Salem and the home of his maternal aunt Violet looked attractive. Violet quickly settled the crisis. Pat was returned to her parents. Frank stayed in Salem. He enrolled in Salem High School and joined the Clarion, the school paper. While not a good student, the kid could write.  At Lincoln High in Tacoma he had had a column in the paper. He’d been a copyboy at the Tacoma Ledger. He even wrote a western story, sold it to a publisher and received $27.50 in cash for his efforts. Frank did not leave many tracks at Salem High. He is pictured along with other members of the Clarion in the annual but enrolled too late to have his senior portrait included. In the group picture he is one of 20 or so; his face is blank under a pile of light brown hair. Wearing a nondescript white shirt,...

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A Place for Latino writers

By Juan Cervantes, editor, Espiral Publishing LLC, Hubbard, Oregon   When it comes to literature it is not easy to find a publisher, especially for talented young writers, more especially for Latino writers.  This was my first concern when I decided to open a publishing house that would offer opportunities to new writers with artistic talent.  Such is the case with young hispanic poet Germán Rizo In these lines of free verse we hear el alma del poeta, the soul of the poet, where language is a medium of bringing to life, of expression and celebration of the other, where the poet discovers himself through the being of the other: the loved one.     Soy el velero                         I am the sailboat                 de tus venas                             of your veins estruendo en la tregua            roaring in the lull       de tu boca                                     of your mouth impregnado de banderas    covered with banners me crecen las palabras            my words swell en ese holocausto           ...

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Ninety Two

An engaging parable about a man who measures his progress with modest markers of success, such as the octane of his gasoline.  While pursuing a conscientious sheltered life in Salem, he daydreams about experiencing first hand how the other half lives. – Editor   Ninety Two By John Van Dreal He thinks about this: He does ok.  Puts 92 in his car.  A Lexus (well, a 12 year old Lexus). He listens to KMUZ, 100.7 on the FM dial.  Excellent programming, all of the time.  It’s public radio, so he makes sure to pay his annual fees and even doubles them, because he can… because he should.  Has the donation swag to prove it:  a sticker on his Lexus, a cap, a coffee mug… all with monikers that read KMUZ Community Radio.  It’s quality listening from a community station.  His people.  His music.  No satellite. Buys local, gives to the shelter, doesn’t hate.  Gets angry when people do, especially when they hate the gays.  He has friends who are, and he’s passionate that they should be free to love whom they want.  Just as he is… free, that is.  He’s not gay.  But wouldn’t care if he was.  His wife might. Works in public service, but as an Administrator.  So he does ok.  Puts 92 in his car.  Safety is important.  That’s why the Lexus.  That and quality.  That’s...

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Review: Nice and Loud -Salem Writes

Salem writer Lois Rosen has recently published her second book of poetry – Nice and Loud.  She will read her poetry Thursday March 31st at 7pm at Frozation Nation, 155 Liberty St NE, Salem, free to the public. ~Editor Review: Nice and Loud Vere McCarty Nearly every page in Lois Rosen’s new book of poems involves the sense of taste.  The opening piece “Cake and Bread” expresses wonderment for a feeling of safety. Night after night, Papa returned home unbeaten, white boxes gleaming from the bakery, bags brimming with challah, frozen-dough rolls, seeded rye. He repeated, “Never save on your stomach.” Reading this poem takes me back to my grandma bringing hot rolls out of the woodstove, and her lingering relief that her boys had come home from the war to enjoy them. Treats like honey cake and Lipton’s with grape jelly grace these poems, and also seal meat and blubber, the orange tang of marigolds, Hungarian brandy (in a summer camp that is nicer and louder than Alan Sherman’s), Wonder Bread, tapioca, even a bouquet that in a Dellwood Dairy milk bottle graced our coffee table. There is music too, from the Temptations’ shoo be doop to a Kuwaiti drummer singing about a woman lovely as a garden. The drumskin becomes a moon white and far away. The keywords “nice and loud” appear in a riff called “Strudel”...

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The Business, Poems by Stephanie Lenox -Review by Vere McCarty

It is a confident title for a book of poems, but The Business put me off at first.  Why would I read poetry if not to get my mind off the stress of business? Stephanie Lenox explains that the idea came from her co-office-worker Carla, who whispered, “You’re a writer, right? You should write about this. ” “Working in an office,” she admits, “is not particularly poetic. But I wrote this book because I wanted to address that part of our lives that few poems touch. I believe that poetry can be a way to celebrate and mourn the hours of our lives we give, out of necessity, to others in order to survive.” Agro-business is also represented.  The title poem goes right down to the farm, where my own work life began. The tractor in the field does not take things personally. It is not affronted by the way wheat bends before it, all that luscious weakness. There is no mind, just a motor, a servitude of parts churning politely together.  The oily smoke is only smoke, no more. I still think my uncle’s old combine hated me.  But the writing feels needed, like knocking off for a mid-morning break. The farm is hard on the body and easy on the spirit.  The office, for me, is just the opposite.  Nice people, benefits, a comfy chair – why should it...

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