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2022 writer’s talks

Get inspired by one of our local writers 


Joe Wilkins

March 17 @ 7pm

Joe Wilkins was born and raised on the Big Dry of eastern Montana and now lives in the foothills of the Coast Range of Oregon. He is the author of a novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, praised as “remarkable and unforgettable” in a starred review at Booklist. A finalist for the First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction and the Pacific Northwest Book Award, Fall Back Down When I Die won the High Plains Book Award. Wilkins is also the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers and four collections of poetry, including Thieve and When We Were Birds, winner of the Oregon Book Award. Wilkins directs the creative writing program at Linfield University and is a member of the low-residency MFA faculty at Eastern Oregon University. 

Wilkins will teach a workshop titled, A Literary Publishing Primer. Learn more at

Joe Wilkins
The Mountain and the Fathers by Joe Wilkins
Notes from the Journey Westward by Joe Wilkins
Fall Back Down When I Die by Joe Wilkins

Tom Swearingen

April 21 @ 7pm

Oregon horseman Tom Swearingen tells stories of the people and land of the American West through original poetry that is often inspired by his own experiences and observations from the saddle. Tom brings his stories to life with rhythm and rhyme and a style that makes him a popular performer. More than 30 of his poems have been published in contemporary cowboy poetry anthologies and publications. His own book Reflection was named 2020 International Western Music Association Cowboy Poetry Book of the Year. In 2019 Tom was named IWMA Male Cowboy Poet of the Year. Learn more at


Joining Tom will be his wife Carla Swearingen sharing from her children’s Flora is Curious About… series. See for more.


They will teach a workshop titled, Rhyme ‘Em Cowboy! Cowboy Poetry. What Is It? Why Is It? How to Write and Perform It With Award-Winning Poet Tom Swearingen. Whether you’re a published poet or don’t know your doggerel from a ‘lil doggie you’ll likely find something of value in what Tom shares. 

Tom Swearingen
Tom and Carla Swearingen
Reflection by Tom Swearingen

April Streeter

May 19 @ 7pm

April Streeter is the author of Women on Wheels: The Scandalous Untold Histories of Women on Bicycles. Her career included five years as correspondent for Sweden, Norway, and the Baltic nations for Windpower Monthly magazine.

April Streeter
Women On Wheels by April Streeter

Rick George

June 16 @ 7pm

Rick George is the author of three novels, Vengeance Burns HotCooper’s Loot, each published in 2019, and Sinister Refuge, published in 2021. His short fiction and poetry have been published in various magazines. He has worked as a reporter, wildland firefighter, and an educator. He lives with his wife April in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State.

Rick George
Cooper's Loot by Rick George
Sinister Refuge by Rick George
Vengeance Burns Hot by Rick George

Dale Champlin

July 21 @ 7pm

Dale Champlin is a poet living in Hillsboro. She has an MFA in fine arts. Dale is the editor of Verseweavers poetry anthologies, winning poems from Oregon Poetry Association contests and /pãn| dé| mïk/ 2020: An Anthology of Pandemic Poems. She is director of Conversations With Writers, a monthly presentation by accomplished writers leading spirited discussions about the craft of writing. Dale has published in VoiceCatcher, Willawaw, The Opiate, Visions International, San Pedro River Review, catheXis, Pif, Cirque and elsewhere. Two collections, Isadora, and Andromina, A Stranger in America are forthcoming.

Callie Comes of Age by Dale Champlin
Dale Champlin
The Barbie Diaries by Dale Champlin

Lex Runciman 

August 18 @ 7pm

Lex Runciman was born in Portland, Oregon's old St. Vincent's Hospital, adopted soon thereafter, and raised not far west of town. He graduated from Santa Clara University (B. A., 1973) and worked for two years as a warehouseman and shipping-receiving clerk before completing graduate study with Madeline DeFrees and Richard Hugo at the University of Montana (M.F.A., 1977), and with Dave Smith at the University of Utah (Ph.D., 1981).


He taught for 11 years at Oregon State University and then for 25 years at Linfield College, where he was twice named Edith Green Distinguished Professor. Runciman has co-edited two anthologies and co-authored three university textbooks. His poems have received the Kenneth O. Hanson Award, the Vern Rutsala Award, and the Silcox Prize. The Admirations won the Oregon Book Award in poetry. One Hour That Morning won the Julie Olds and Thomas Hellie Award for Creative Achievement.


Spouse to one, father of two, grandfather of four, he lives with his wife of 50 years in Portland, Oregon. Unlooked For, his seventh collection of poems, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry.

Lex Runciman
The Admirations by Lex Runciman
Out of Town by Lex Runciman
Starting from Anywhere by Lex Runciman
One Hour That Morning by Lex Runciman

John Sibley Williams

September 15 @ 7pm

John Sibley Williams is the author of nine poetry collections, including Scale Model of a Country at Dawn (Cider Press Review Poetry Award), The Drowning House (Elixir Press Poetry Award), As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press), and Summon (JuxtaProse Chapbook Prize). His book Sky Burial: New & Selected Poems is forthcoming in translated form by the Portuguese press do lado esquerdo. A twenty-seven-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and founder of the Caesura Poetry Workshop series. Previous publishing credits include Best American Poetry, Yale Review, Verse Daily, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and TriQuarterly.

WorkshopMaking Art from Art: An Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop


Using a rhetorical device known as ekphrasis, the poet engages with a form of art in hopes of expanding on its meaning. In this brief workshop, we will explore one of the many facets of ekphrasis through poetry analysis and a writing activity that creates and fosters conversation among multiple art forms. 

John Sibley Williams

Tina Ontiveros

October 20 @ 7pm

Tina Ontiveros is a writer, teacher, and bookseller based in the Pacific Northwest. She was raised below the federal poverty line, living mostly with her single mother at the edge of the Oregon desert, but often with her constantly migrating dad in small timber towns around the Pacific Northwest.

While some elements of Ontiveros’s story are universal, others are indelibly grounded in the logging camps of the Pacific Northwest at the end of the twentieth century, as the lumber industry shifted and contracted. Tracing her childhood through the working-class towns and forests of Washington and Oregon, Ontiveros explores themes of love and loss, parents and children, and her own journey to a different kind of adulthood. 

Rough House by Tina Ontiveros
Tina Ontiveros

Laurie Case Wilhite

November 17 @ 7pm

Born and raised in the Columbia River Gorge, Laurie Case Wilhite spent her life rushing to appointments, teaching high school, and traveling on vacations that led her to the Pacific Ocean and beyond. Upon retirement Wilhite decided to get to know the Columbia River in a new way-- the view from her kayak.


Experience the Columbia River from the water through the story of Laurie’s journey by kayak. Geology, wildlife, history, and people along the river come together to form this rich tale of adventure. Slow down the pace, feel the river mile after mile, and join her journey of reflection.

For more info and upcoming book talks visit

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