PoeFest 19 Poets

Kim Stafford serves as Oregon's current Poet Laureate. 
He was born and grew up in Oregon. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and editor of half a dozen others. His book Having Everything Right: Essays of Place won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986. Stafford has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Governor’s Arts Award, and the Stewart Holbrook Award from Literary Arts for his contributions to Oregon’s literary culture. His work has been featured on National Public Radio.
    Stafford’s most recent book, 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do, is an account of his brother’s suicide, and the struggle of his family to live beyond. It is a book where “the story reaches back through the difficult end to grasp the beautiful beginning, like pulling a venomous serpent inside out.”
    Stafford holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Oregon, and he has worked as a printer, photographer, oral historian, editor and visiting writer at a host of colleges and schools, and also offered writing workshops in Italy, Scotland and Bhutan. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and children. He is the second Stafford to serve as Oregon’s Poet Laureate; his father, William Stafford, held the appointment from 1974 to 1989.
    “Poetry is our native language,” says Stafford. “We begin with imaginative experiments as children, and lyric language can be a realm of discovery and delight throughout life. For adults and communities, poetry can help us be more open to new ideas, emotionally informed, and buoyant in responding to challenges. In a society of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, poetry builds community.”

Paulann Petersen served as Oregon’s 6th Poet Laureate from 2010-2014. She has four books of poet- ry: The Wild Awake (Confluence Press); Blood-Silk (Quiet Lion Press); A Bride of Narrow Escape (Cloudbank Books), which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; and Kindle (Mountains and Rivers Press). A fifth full-length book, The Voluptuary, was published by Lost Horse Press in late 2010. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and the recipient of the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts, she serves on the board of Friends of William Stafford, organizing the annual January Stafford Birthday Events.

Lawson Fusao Inada Poet, writer, and educator, Lawson Fusao Inada is an emeritus professor of English at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. In February 2006, Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed him Oregon's fifth poet laureate, and Oregonians have come to know him through the dozens of appearances he has made throughout the state promoting the writing and reading of poetry.

Born in Fresno, California, in 1938, Inada is a third-generation Japanese American. His father was a dentist and his mother a teacher, and his maternal grandparents founded the Fresno Fish Market in 1912. In 1942, shortly after the United States entered World War II.

After the war, the family returned to Fresno, where their home and business had been looked after by German and Italian friends. In 1971, Inada's Before the War: Poems as They Happened was the first volume of poetry by an Asian American published by a major publishing house. By then, Inada had earned a master of Fine Arts at the University of Oregon and had been teaching at Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University) for five years. He is the author of two other collections of poetry: Legends from Camp (1992), which won the American Book Award, and Drawing the Line (1997), which won an Oregon Book Award.

Inada is coeditor of two ground-breaking anthologies of Chinese American and Japanese American literature and of Only What We Could CarryThe Japanese Internment Experience (2000), the definitive single-volume collection on the Japanese American concentration camp experience. 

A deep connection to jazz, its rhythms and its repetition, is obvious in the spontaneous quality of Inada's work and in his tributes to jazz artists. 

The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004, Inada has served as Steinbeck chair for the National Steinbeck Center and has been a judge for the National Book Award in Poetry. He has been instrumental in creating multicultural curricula for high schools and colleges. He is a teacher, a community member, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and an artist. His readings and poems are pleasurable, instructive, and wise.

Mohammad Bader  

National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who has over 30 years experience in social services, program development/design, administration, clinical supervision, teaching and counseling. Mohammad designed and taught graduate level classes at Portland State University and worked as an Adjunct Instructor in the area of Psychiatric Rehabilitation at the Counselor Education Department

Mohammad also has directed a small Mental Health Program in the State of Washington. Currently, Mohammad is Deputy Director of the Department of County Human Services in Multnomah County Oregon. Mohammad volunteers his time to counsel and lecture on intercultural marriage with a focus on Arab-American and MuslimsHe frequently lectures at local colleges and mentors various graduate level students who are interested in the field of intercultural and interfaith marriage. 

Mohammad loves poetry and frequently reads, writes and translates poetry.  Mohammad was born in East Jerusalem and much of his poetry reflects his experience as a first generation immigrantMohammad is a published author and he recently published a book of poetry entitled The Traveler which published in 2011 by Lulu Press.  Although the book was mainly written in English many of the poems, it has were written originally in Arabic. 

Efraín Díaz-Horna was born in Talara, Peru, the oldest of five children. He spent most of his childhood in the metropolitan city of Lima, At present Efraín, in addition to volunteering, gives presentations on a variety of subjects, ranging from Hispanic issues to magical realism in Latin American literature. Efraín has been drawing, painting, and writing since he was a child. He has exhibited his art in Oregon, Mexico, Russia, and Peru. 

His poetry has been published in Expreso, The Oregonian, The Hispanic News, The National Catholic Reporter, and several newsletters. He is the author of the following poetry books The Many Faces of Love (1983), Aire, agua y cenizas (2011), Cuatro poemas (2011), The Anvil of God (2011), The Life of Oceans (2014), 1ra Antología de la poesía oregoniana (2018) and Relative Poetry (2018). Efraín has been a member of the Oregon Council for the Humanities, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon United Nations Association, the Silverton Poetry Association, the Oregon Poetry Association, the Instituto de Cultura Oregoniana, and has chaired the Oregon Hispanic Commission.

Nitza Hernandez  has been living in Oregon since 2012 after she retired as a professor from the University of Puerto Rico. Throughout her career, she published numerous academic papers in the fields of communication, education and information technology. Nitza writes poetry since she was a teenager when she wrote her first poems about nature and love. She regrets having lost her first notebook of poems a long time ago. The first time she got published a poem was in 1969 in her High School’s newspaper, Veritas. It was her poem Despedida, dedicated to her senior classmates after many years shared at the same school, announcing the new paths that they would follow after graduation. In 2017 Nitza got published four poems in La 1A Antología de Poesía Oregoniana by the Instituto de Cultura Oregoniana (ICO). One of those poems, Como me dueles Borinquen, dedicated to Puerto Rico after the hurricanes, earned the 3rd prize of ICO's Poetry Contest. Nitza writes her poetry mostly in Spanish and has translated some of her poems into English. She has read some of her poems at the Bilingual Poetry reading sessions with the Salem Poetry Project. Her main style of poetry is free verse, although she also likes to write sonnets and in rhyme. Her topics range from poems about nature and the environment, her Puerto Rican homeland, introspective meditations, love, death, friendship, and poems for close family members. She also loves writing prose poetry in letters to family and friends with heightened imagery or emotional effect. Because she loves to write, Nitza enjoys documenting some of her transcending dreams guided by a Jungian symbolic interpretation of her subconscious experiences. Besides poetry, Nitza is engaged with painting, soul collaging, photography, yoga, and meditation. Some of her artwork has been shown at exhibits and art galleries in Salem and Independence. In her own words, Nitza says…“My poetry, as well as my artwork, reflect my social and environmental concerns, my latino and multicultural identity, and the connection I feel with Puerto Rico, with my ancestors and my cosmic origin.”