American Indian Cultural Festival

A lot of the work of being an author is the dull and dry sitting at a desk (even when that desk is in a tree) and writing day after day. But every now and then an event comes along that you know you’ll remember forever. The American Indian Cultural Festival in The Dalles last week was just such a moment. It was a celebration of literature and poetry and music and dance. It involved a group of books that I admire and authors I feel honored to share the stage with: Elizabeth Woody, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, Craig Lesley, acclaimed author of contemporary western literature, and National Book Award winning writer Sherman Alexie.

I was lucky enough to spend time with an adult book club and share a poetry reading with some truly outstanding young poets. I got to hear the culture club from Lyle school in Washington give their very first performance in the Sahaptian language with traditional dancing. They were simply amazing. I’m so proud of all they’ve accomplished in a year. I meet with some avid writers in the North Oregon Juvenal Detention Facility, and best of all I got to dance with the Taholah drum group from the Quinault Reservation. My favorite part of the whole thing was the series of classrooms who came to hear me and the Taholah drum group speak. They had all kinds of great questions about the culture and art of the Quinault and Makah and the practice of tribal whaling. It was the sort of mind-opening conversation that cultural festivals are made for. I am very grateful to Julian Peterson and Marko Black and all the tribal dancers from Taholah who shared their songs and prayers and dances so generously, and who invited the students to dance and drum along so whole-heartedly. I know those are memories the students will always cherish.

Thank you to Jim Tindale the librarian at The Dalles School District who made this all happen in conjunction with the great booksellers at Oregon’s oldest bookstore Klindt’s who sold all the books and hosted many of the events. Tina Ontiveros is the manager at Klindt’s and Joaquin Perez is the owner. The fundraising for this event was truly a community affair with donations coming from area schools and libraries, educational foundations, local congregations, Oregon’s poet laureate program, the Wasco County Cultural Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde. It’s inspiring to see so many community members come together in support of literacy and the cultural understanding of our local American Indian communities. Thank you!

American Indian Cultural Festival

I am beyond thrilled to be included in the American Indian Cultural Festival held this week in The Dalles. I will be appearing alongside Sherman Alexie, Elizabeth Woody, the poet laureate of Oregon, and adult writer, Craig Leslie. We will be doing a poetry reading which is free and open to the public on Thursday April 13th at 4:00 in The Dalles Middle School Commons. There will be live music and a drum and dance group from the Quinault Nation. Each of the authors will read a new poem. If you happen to be in the area, I’d love to see you there.

Klindt’s bookstore will host a book signing party at 7:00 that same evening. Klindt’s has the distinction of being the oldest bookstore in the state. I am particularly grateful to the owners of the bookstore who purchased hundreds of copies of my book, Written in Stone to give away to the students I will visit the day following these events. I am also very grateful to Jim Tindale, Librarian extraordinaire who did the lion’s share of the work in coordinating this festival which includes coordinating readings and author visits in 7 locations over the course of two days. He also spearheaded all the fundraising that made this celebration possible.

In addition to the poetry event I will be attending a talk by Sherman Alexie at The Dalles High School. Hundreds of children will come in on busses from all over the county to hear him read from Thunder Boy Jr.  which was illustrated by the amazing Yuyi Morales. This event will include drummers and dancers from the Quinault nation.

World Read Aloud Day

February 16th is World Read Aloud Day. I will be celebrating this day by reading aloud via Skype to as many classrooms as I can. Last year I read to 15 schools on 3 continents over 24 hours. I’d love to include your school in this year’s celebration. If you are a teacher of students between 3rd and 8th grade and you’d like to share some reading excitement with your class please get in touch as soon as possible so I can fit you into my schedule.

My newest novel The Turn of the Tide will come out in paperback on Valentines Day and in honor of that I’ll be giving away one of my paperbacks to the first ten teachers who schedule a free Skype visit for World Read Aloud Day.

You can use the contact me feature on the website or email me at rosanne@rosanneparry.com

World Read Aloud Day is sponsored by Lit World and they have a pretty impressive slogan:

Read aloud. Change the World.

World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries thanks to people like you who participate and spread the word across the globe!

If you are not a teacher I hope you will honor the day by choosing a book or poem you love and reading it to somebody you care about. My mother read poetry aloud to me her whole life long and those are some of the memories of her that I treasure the most.

Presidential Citizenship

I am writing this post in the waning hour of Inauguration Day, in anticipation of the Women’s March in the morning. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I have hope.  My neighbor, the noted poet and beloved teacher Kim Stafford, wrote a slim and wise volume of poetry in honor of the times, and I was particularly moved by this poem.

Presidential Citizens

When four guards led Nelson Mandela

first into the prison yard in chains,

he set the pace, slow and steady, so

they stumbled until they matched the step

he had chosen for them all.

 

Now our playground bully

has become school principal

and we are the students of his reign.

Wise rhythms, clear testimony

must be our love of country

guiding from below.

 

I have so many hopes for the future, at least as many as my fears. This is my hope for myself today–that I will be presidential in my citizenship. That I will proceed from this day with dignity and fairness, and with steadfast resolve to guide from below and so help to shape the course of those who have set themselves so far above.

Having looked at the mission statement and unity principles of the Women’s March I am very encouraged by the commitment to non-violence and to upholding human rights. My whole family will be marching in several cities. I am enormously encouraged to see that the Women’s March has hundreds of sister marches around the world. I hope that whether you march or not, you will be a fellow citizen in search of a more perfect union, a more inclusive, kind, just, and generous nation.

The poem Presidential Citizens was reprinted by permission of the author from The Flavor of Unity: Post-Election Poems by Kim Stafford (Portland, Oregon, Little Infinities, 2017).

 

The League of Exceptional Writers

Have you got a young person in your life who loves to read and write? Maybe a teenager who is wondering about pursing a career in the book world? Come to the Cedar Hills Powells this Saturday and hear what Laura Stanfil has to say about the publishing process. Laura is our own local publisher of Forest Avenue Press, and she is going to take our League members step by step through the process of how pages on a writers screen become books that find their way into bookshops like Powells. It’s going to be a great conversation. Come join us Saturday January 14th at 2pm. The Cedar Hills Powells is at 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd

Did I mention that Laura is the ultra-cool publisher of City of Weird? A book about strange, and spooky happenings in Portland? Did I further mention that the Cat in the Hat has nothing on Laura Stanfil! I bet she can even juggle fish! Come join us. It will be a blast.