(Right, Willow Pod by Donna Sakamoto Crispin, who completed a residency in April. View north of the wet shore edge of Summer Lake during a rainy spring.)
Donna Crispin says: I have been weaving baskets and other fiber art for 25 years. My college degrees are in Sociology and Education. I don’t have formal art training. However, I’ve taken all kinds of workshops, from basketry and fiber arts to ceramics and jewelry. Through the years, I have synthesized this information along with influences from Northwest Native American basketry andJapanese culture. I enjoy teaching others, and raising awareness about crafts and their importance in our everyday lives. www.donnasakamotocrispin.com
David Licata is a filmmaker and writer. His films have shown on PBS stations across the country and screened at festivals internationally, including New Directors/New Films (curated by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA), the Tribeca Film Festival, and dozens of others, from Yokahama to Krakow. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in print in The Literary Review and online at Word Riot, Hitotoki, Sole Literary Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, Really Small Talk, and others. He is currently working on a collection of related short stories and a feature documentary, A Life’s Work http://alifesworkmovie.com/blog/
Kumani Gantt’s plays and performance pieces include meditations/from the ash, winner of the Artscape 1997 Best Play Contest and voted Best New Play by the Baltimore Alternative; Three Stories to the Ground, written with Gabriel Shanks and winner of the Theatre Project Outstanding Vision In Theatre Award; anatomy/lessons selected as part of Penumbra Theater’s Cornerstone Project; Communion written with actress Vanessa Thomas for Washington, DC’s Horizons Theater, Testament, a play inspired by Antigone performed by the Village of Arts and Humanities in 2006; and the work-in-progress, The Gift, which received a staged reading as part of ACT’s Central Theatre Lab in June 2011. In 2003 her collection of poetry, conjuring the dead, was awarded the Maryland Emerging Writers Award by the poet Afaa Michael Weaver. She holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from Towson University and lives in Seattle.
Jamie Newton lives west of the Cascades, south of the Columbia, and north of that big fir tree. He paints, draws, and makes things and then photographs and makes videos of some of those things so that they become yet other things. Sometimes there’s noise. Also within sight of that big fir tree are two dogs, loads of books and a very tolerant spouse. A bunch of his stuff can be seen at concretewheels.com
Scot Siegel’s most recent book is Thousands Flee California Wildflowers (Salmon Poetry, 2012). He has received awards and commendations from Playa, Aesthetica Magazine (UK), Nimrod International, and the Oregon Poetry Association, among others, and has been nominated for the Best of the Net and Pushcart anthologies. Siegel is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and serves on the board of the Friends of William Stafford. His work appears in a variety of magazines and literary journals. Siegel lives in Oregon with his wife and two daughters, and works as a town-planning consultant. www.redroom.com/author/scot-siegel
Keane Southard, born in 1987, writes music that is an amalgamation of his many diverse musical influences, from medieval chant to 70′s rock, Bach to the Blues, and German romanticism to Latin dance forms. His compositions have been performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Longfellow Chorus and Orchestra, Juventas New Music Ensemble, and the Tesla Quartet. He has been a recipient of many awards, including the Cecil Effinger Composition Award and George Lynn Prize from The University of Colorado-Boulder, and First Prize in the Longfellow Chorus International Composers Cantata Competition. Keane earned his M.M. in composition at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he served as a graduate assistant in music theory. His composition teachers include Kenneth Girard, Loris Chobanian, Daniel Kellogg, Jeffrey Nytch, Carter Pann, and Richard Toensing.
Terry Brix was born in Havre, Montana, one of coldest spots in the US. Montana and the West–particularly Oregon–are the north and south poles of his poetry. Brix has degrees in chemical engineering and an MBA. He has spent most of his career as a green chemical engineer working in Scandinavia, South Africa, China, and Japan. Since he started writing poetry in 1995, his poems have appeared in many publications, including The North American Review, The Evansville Review, Fireweed, Front Range, Exit 13, Rattlesnake Review, Chiron Review, Curbside Review, Falling Star Magazine, Liberty Hill Poetry Review, and The Antioch Review. See www.TerryBrix.com
M.E. Hope writes: Somewhere poetry is happening, I will travel for poetry, I will champion poetry in my community, I will listen to poets and feed them when necessary, as they sustain me. I live and write in Southern Oregon, in a semi-empty nest, with 2 cats, 2 dogs and a man. I see my life at the fringe of where I hope to eventually be. I have poems upcoming in Hubbub #28 and Cloudbank.
John Martin, born 1952, makes money landscaping but makes his living writing poetry. He grew up in the Midwest and then again in California. For the past 10 years he has lived in Bend, Oregon. He is the author of the chapbook, The Nick Of Time (2006) and co-author of The Guys’ Big Book Of Poetry (2009) and The Guys’ Home Relationship Maintenance and Improvement Poetry Manual (2011). He’s currently putting together a collection of his recent poems.
Rob Licht grew up near Ithaca, New York, inspired by the landscape of the Finger Lakes region. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maine College of Art and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture from Cornell. His work reflects upon our relationship to the landscape and strives to finds personal meaning using commonplace symbols. He typically works in welded steel; he also works in wood, cement, bronze, and other mediums. His sculptures range in scale from small intimate pieces to large outdoor installations. Licht exhibits his work throughout the Northeast and has earned many grants and awards. He has taught sculpture, design, and drawing at Ithaca College, BOCES Continuing Education program, Maine College of Art, and Cornell. He maintains a studio in Ithaca, NY. His work can be viewed at www.roblicht.com
Sonja Hinrichsen graduated from the Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany in sculpture (1997) and performance/video (1998) and received her MFA in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001. In recent years Sonja has been invited to various group- and solo- exhibitions, as well as art and film festivals, including the Peeler Art Center at DePauw University, Saarlaendisches Kuenstlerhaus in Saarbruecken, Germany, and the Around the Coyote Arts Festival in Chicago. Sonja has won numerous artist residency awards, including ones from the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE, Djerassi Artist Residency in California, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. In the fall of 2009 she was a visiting artist at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, and in 2011 she received a grant from the Puffin Foundation. Her work can be viewed at http://sonjahinrichsen.wordpress.com/
Ruby Hansen Murray is a writer and photographer living on Puget Island in the lower Columbia River. An enrolled Osage Indian and a licensed counselor, she studied anthropology at the University of Texas. Her essays focusing on loss have appeared in American Ghost: Poets on life after Industry, Oregon Humanities Magazine and on Oregon Public Broadcasting. She was a participant in the 2010 Artist Trust EDGE Program and has been a resident at Hypatia-in-the-Woods in Shelton, WA and Fishtrap’s Imnaha River cabin. She is revising The Heart Stays People, which describes an Osage orphan’s search for home.
Jayne Marek earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Wisconsin. Her poetry has appeared in small publications such as Tipton Poetry Journal, Isthmus, The Occasional Reader, Wisconsin Academy Review, and Windless Orchard and in the anthology And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana. She also writes plays, stories, and academic articles and books about literary history. Marek is professor of English at Franklin College, Indiana, teaching literature, film studies, creative writing, and composition.
Jessica Roth grew up in small towns throughout western New York and Connecticut, where she sought out wild orchids among the crumbling hills. Influenced by ecology and traditions of myth-making and folklore, Jessica’s writing explores the relationship between exterior, geographical landscapes and interior, psychological ones. She has a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Letters as well as Environmental Studies from Prescott College. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Alligator Juniper and Connecticut Review, and she was the 2009-2010 recipient of the Frederick and Frances Sommer Fellowship. After walking hundreds of miles through Arizona’s backcountry during her career as a Forest Service employee, Jessica has decided to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing next fall. In the meanwhile, she is traveling the country, making friends with farmers and artists, and trading stories for a place to spend the night.
David Carmack Lewis studied illustration at Virginia Commonwealth University and in Cardiff, Wales. He started painting after moving to Phoenix, Arizona in the early ’90s. There he became an early member of the now defunct but well known House Studios and showed his work in Scottsdale, Arizona at Art One Gallery. He moved to Namibia in early 1999 and, while there, showed work in the Hout Bay Gallery near Cape Town, South Africa. Ever since he moved to Portland in 2000, the mood and atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest has had a tremendous impact on his work. He currently shows at the Attic Gallery in downtown Portland and has participated in juried and curated exhibitions across the region and the country.
David Memmott spent much of his nomadic youth finding his way home. After his mother migrated West from Michigan when he was eight years old, he lived in various small towns from the Great Basin to the Oregon coast. He graduated from North Eugene High School, attended Clatsop Community College and earned his B.A. in English at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, where he has lived for the last forty years. He has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in numerous journals and anthologies, five books of poetry, a post-cyberpunk novel and a story collection. He is the recipient of a Fishtrap Fellowship and three-time recipient of Literary Arts, Inc. Publishing Fellowships. He won the Rhysling Award for best sf/fantasy/horror long poem of the year in 1990 and was a 2010 finalist for the Spur Award in Poetry. He recently completed a Vietnam-era novel entitled Canned Tuna and has a book of poetry forthcoming from Serving House Press in 2012.
Dennis Jenkins is a Senior Research Archaeologist for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon where he received his PhD in 1991. He earned his BA (1977) and MA (1981) in anthropology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has taught and directed the University of Oregon’s Northern Great Basin archaeological field school in the Fort Rock and Summer Lake basins since 1989 in the Northern Great Basin. His research focuses on the first colonization of the Americas, obsidian sourcing and hydration, prehistoric shell bead trade and settlement-subsistence patterns of the Northern Great Basin. He has conducted more than 100 site investigations throughout his career, publishing seven books, 33 chapters, articles and reviews, 30 + professional reports and contributions to reports and given more than 50 papers at professional meetings.
Karl Cronin is a visual/movement/recording artist and composer. He grew up in Colorado and Texas where he performed in regional and community theater productions and countless youth orchestras. The landscape of the central plains and American southwest made a deep impression on him as a child, and often forms the backdrop of his work. His music weaves together narratives of place, rites of passage, and transformation, and is typically orchestrated for solo voice, chamber orchestra, and laptop. As an undergraduate, he studied cello performance and chamber music at Boston College, which is where he co-produced his first opera, Dido and Aeneas. He has studied composition with Thomas Oboe Lee, contemporary performance with Deborah Hay and at Movement Research in NYC, and currently studies composition in San Francisco with Randy Craig. karlcronin.com
Donna Henderson was born and raised in Portland, in a family in love with both language and landscape. She is a founding member-editor of Airlie Press, and her poems, song lyrics, and other works have been widely published. Of her three collections of poems, two (Transparent Woman  and The Eddy Fence ) were finalists for an Oregon Book Award. A licensed clinical social worker, Donna works as a psychotherapist, and also teaches both counseling and creative writing at the college level. She lives with her husband, Rich Sutliff, on their acreage south of Monmouth, where they are working to restore its wetlands and its indigenous oak savannah.
Liz Tran grew up in Oregon’s Willamette Valley surrounded by trees, rivers and mountains. As a child I spent many hours playing on, in and around the tall evergreens in my neighborhood. These were my play structures and my escape. What I see when I look out the window are trees. When I look to the sky I see branches. I often encounter more trees per day than people. These are my portraits. A large variety of materials are used in my work, including paper, ink, acrylic, graphite, beeswax and carving and printmaking techniques. http://liztran.com
Michelle Acuff hails originally from the Midwest, but now contentedly calls Eastern Washington home when she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Whitman College. Acuff’s artistic practice ranges from object making to installation to video and performance, and addresses the eroding boundary between nature and culture, discourses of authorship, and the exciting intersections between science and art. Her work has shown broadly throughout the United States in group and solo exhibitions. When not working or teaching, Acuff can be found in her garden, biking through the wheat and wine fields, or exploring with her dog at the creek. www.michelleacuff.com
Irene Zabytko is the author of The Sky Unwashed (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill), a novel about Chernobyl survivors which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Book, A Book Sense ’76 Pick Selection, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery title. She is currently producing, writing and co-directing a documentary about the real life Chernobyl survivors called Life in the Dead Zone. She is also the author of the short story collection When Luba Leaves Home (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill). While at Playa, she will be working on a novel featuring Nikolai Gogol.
Nina Elder is an artist who examines the visual evidence of post-industrial culture, and its distinctive cycles of production, consumption, and waste. She scrutinizes the aesthetic mitigation that often camouflages sites of manufacture, use, and disposal. Her paintings, drawings, and installations are a response to the friction between humanity, the natural world, and industrial proliferation. In 2009 Nina received her MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and she holds a BFA in Painting from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She has exhibited across the nation, including California, New Mexico, New York, and South Dakota. Nina is the co-founder of PLAND, Practice Liberating Art through Necessary Dislocation, an off-the-grid arts organization that offers programs to support the development of experimental and research-based projects in rural New Mexico.
Karen McPherson has published poetry and literary translations in a number of journals including Cider Press Review, Descant, Centrifugal Eye, Fireweed, Zoland, Saranac Review, and Translation Review. Her chapbook Sketching Elise is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. McPherson is Associate Professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of Oregon. In addition to her numerous articles on francophone women writers, she is the author of two books of literary criticism: Incriminations: Guilty Women/Telling Stories (1994) and Archaeologies of an Uncertain Future: Recent Generations of Canadian Women Writing (2006). She is currently translating Quebec poet Louise Warren’s Archives trilogy into English.
Michael Rondeau, an archaeologist from Sacramento, is currently involved in long-term research on the earliest peoples in Far Western North America. His work in lithic analysis seeks to document what forms of flaked stone artifacts can reliably be used as evidence of those earliest peoples. These studies include the variability of forms for fluted and other early projectile-point types, the emergence of and the technological transition away from flute-point styles, as well as the unique flaking waste that signals time-sensitive methods of artifact manufacture. His lithic research has included California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Rondeau is the author or co-author of more than 30 published articles and papers and holds a master’s degree in anthropology from California State University, Sacramento.
Joan Stuart Ross maintains studios at BallardWorks, Seattle and in Nahcotta, WA. She earned an MA & MFA from the University of Iowa, a BA from Connecticut College, and studied at Yale and the UW. Honors include: 4Culture, Espy Foundation, Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen Award, Kathe Kollwitz Award for advocacy of women artists, and a Fulbright-Hays Grant to Vietnam. Joan’s art is exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented by Patricia Cameron Gallery and Waterworks Gallery, WA, and RiverSea and PAN Gallery, OR. Joan has served on the boards of Seattle Print Arts, Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle Arts Commission and the NW Institute for Urban Studies in Italy. www.joanstuartross.com (Photo by L. McConnell)
Nancy Pobanz was born in southeastern Oregon’s Malheur County. “I couldn’t wait to leave my small town to explore other cultures, such as Mexico, Japan, and the Philippines.” After 20 years, Pobanz returned to her home state where it finally occurred to her that Oregon’s high desert had subconsciously always been the key influence on her work. Since then, she has focused closely on the geology, plant and animal life of the high desert, gathering materials and images to incorporate into her work. Nancy’s next solo show is at the White Lotus Gallery in Eugene, March 2012. www.nancypobanz.com
Rakar West moved to Oregon in 1976, driving alone across the high desert as the day closed, then through the Cascades in the moonlit night. “The Oregon landscape filled my heart. For 25 years I have returned to remote areas of the Oregon Great Basin to draw inspiration for my work.” West makes layers of textural and color effects that embed and reveal symbols, float and imply gesture or movement of marks. She creates vibrancy of light, dimension in layers, and flatness of surface, causing the viewer’s attention to shift between the referential and the purely abstract. She shows her work nationally and is included in collections across the US. She lives in Eugene. www.rakarwest.com