Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

BookTour 2010: Oregon

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I had a stopover in Portland, and bought a big burrito in the airport. It didn’t sit right, and by the time I got to Ashland (delivered there by the next editor of the West Wind Review Sarah Cunningham), I was shivering and nauseous. My host, the wonderful and talented K. Silem Mohammad, was kind enough to give me a pass on a late evening, though we chatted about this and that in preparation for tomorrow. I slept hard, and woke up in pain. The plan was to do a workshop at the University of Southern Oregon with his creative writing students in the morning, go for lunch, explore Ashland (the Shakespeare capital of America!), go for dinner, do the reading, stay and drink, go and drink, and conclude with a party back at Kasey’s. I didn’t even get as far as breakfast. In fact, I didn’t eat anything but that burrito in Oregon.

The workshop actually went really well. It was supposed to be a casual affair for approximately 45 minutes, but the conversation and activities carried on for 2 hours. To show his enthusiasm for the workshop and my approach to experimental writing, one student offered to take me to a shooting range that afternoon. Another asked me if I thought it would be a good creative experiment to line up texts by the “masters” and fire bullets through them. Ah, my lovely dangerous American cousins! I declined all such kind offers, skipped lunch, and stumbled back to Kasey’s for a long afternoon nap.

I woke up, still green, for the reading. There were a number of students there, including my gunmen friends, and I pretended good health as best I could. The reading went well, but I could only hold out for so long. I was asleep by something absurd like 10:30. It’s too bad – Kasey has fostered a great literary community in this small city, and I would have loved a longer visit. Sarah arrived the next morning at 7:30 am to drive me to the airport. I was glad for the sleep, feeling much better, and vowed to avoid all burritos, especially airport burritos. In the meantime, I was going to California in my mind and in a plane.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Gregory Betts

Gregory Betts is an experimental poet, editor, essayist and teacher. He is the author of If Language (BookThug, 2005), Haikube (BookThug, 2006) and The Others Raisd in Me (Pedlar Press, 2009). He has edited editions of poetry by W.W. E. Ross, Raymond Knister and Lawren Harris. His latest book is The Wrong World: Selected Stories and Essays of Bertram Brooker (University of Ottawa Press 2009).

Go to Gregory Betts’s Author Page