It’s Here! Check out our Summer 2016 Journal

We are pleased to announce the release of the Summer 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. In this, our ninth issue of our online journal, you’ll discover:

  • A sampling of poetry from the powerful female creative force thriving in our region.
  • Fiction and nonfiction from six women who dazzle us with both their honesty and humor.
  • Stunning imagery from four artists who use layering and process as metaphors for life beyond art.
Featured Artwork "Beyond Sea' by Jeni Lee

Featured Artwork “Beyond Sea’ by Jeni Lee

Many thanks to our hard-working editorial team: Managing editors Michelle Fredette and Jennifer Kemnitz, art editor Sarah Fagan; prose editors Desiree Wright, Nikki Schulak and Tanya Jarvik; poetry editors Juleen Johnson, Sarah Brenner and Emily Ransdell; and journal designer Shawn Aveningo.

We are excited about the authors and artists represented in these pages and hope you will come out to meet them in person by attending a VoiceCatcher event in the future.

Happy reading!

 

 

VoiceCatcher is open for submissions until May 15

VoiceCatcher is seeking submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and art for our summer 2016 issue. Visit the journal site for full submission guidelines, and read the most recent issue to get a sense of what we look for. Below, meet the editorial team that will be working on the upcoming issue!

The Summer 2016 Issue Editorial Team

Sara-Bednark

Young Voices editor Sara Bednark has been writing off and on since a hastily written play she wrote in 9th grade received these words of encouragement, “How wonderfully absurd!” For twenty-five years writing has confounded, delighted and been her connection to voice. Sara has written and self-published two picture books; owned, edited and wrote for a tabloid newspaper; and is currently working on a middle grade novel. Her pieces can be read in Elohi Gadugii Journal and Typehouse Literary Magazine.

 

Sarah-Brenner

Poetry editor Sarah Brenner writes poetry and hybrid essays in and around Portland, Ore., while battling a crippling book addiction. A graduate of Bennington College, she has studied with April Bernard, Mark Wunderlich and Peter Sears. Her day job allows her to promote and facilitate community arts programs, and in her spare time she obsessively follows her favorite podcasts and makes friends with other animals.

SarahFaganReturning art editor Sarah Fagan received a bachelor’s in Fine Arts and English Literature from Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts. She worked as an editor for a New England arts magazine before relocating to Portland, Oregon in 2009. Here she decided to concentrate on making her own artwork by attending a certificate program at the Oregon College of Art and Craft where she studied bookbinding and painting. In Portland, Sarah developed a curriculum of arts classes that she taught to children at schools, libraries and other venues. When not teaching, she is painting – her forté is the contemporary still life. For 2015-16, Sarah will be the Umbrella Institute’s Artist-in-Residence in Concord, Mass.

Michelle-updated

Managing editor Michelle Fredette has served as a past prose editor with VoiceCatcher and is a current member of the board of directors. She fell in love with literary journals during high school, sitting on the floor of her mom’s cube at Writer’s Digest. Since then, she’s been able to indulge this love as a reader for Ploughshares and Black Warrior Review, and as fiction editor for Oxford Magazine and New Orleans Review. Her writing includes short stories and the occasional non-fiction piece. She’s currently chipping away at a novel about roller derby.

Tanya-Jarvik

Prose editor Tanya Jarvik has worked as a freelance editor for the past fifteen years. She has also taught composition, poetry, fiction, and memoir writing. Tanya’s poetry and prose have appeared in VoiceCatcher, The Manifest-Station, The Open Face Sandwich, the Enter at Your Own Risk anthology series and elsewhere. One of her favorite gigs is writing a pseudonymous advice column for people in alternative relationships

 

Juleen-Johnson-croppedforweb

Poetry editor Juleen Johnson is a co-founder of Soundings: An Evening of Word and Sound. Johnson has been invited to read at: BuzzPoems, Ink Noise Review, Open Door Enjambment, Penduline Poetry Series and Word Warriors. She won first place in the Voices Poetics Poetry Contest. Her poems have been published in printed publications, including Cirque: A Literary Journal, Nervous Breakdown, The Rio Grande Review, Rust and Moth, The Round and other journals. Johnson currently writes and creates art in Portland, Ore.

 

VoicecatcherAssistant managing editor Jennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist-poet who lives and writes in Portland. Her work has most recently appeared in Rain, the Kerf, Medical Literary Messenger, and We’Moon and has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake, The Poetry Box and VoiceCatcher. Jennifer’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and translated into German.

Emily-Ransdell

 

Poetry editor Emily Ransdell holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Montana.  Her poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, Whitefish Review, Hamilton Stone Review0 and elsewhere. Emily divides her time between Camas, Wash. and the North Oregon Coast, where she is a coordinator of the Manzanita Writers’ Series annual PoetryFest.

 

 

_NewHat

First appearing in the Summer 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher, journal designer and administrator Shawn Aveningo Sanders is an award-winning, globally published poet whose work has appeared in over 90 literary journals and anthologies, including LA’s poeticdiversity – which recently nominated her poetry for a Pushcart Prize. She is co-founder of The Poetry Box® and managing editor of The Poeming Pigeon. Shawn is a proud mother of three who shares in the creative life with her husband in Beaverton, Oregon.

Nikki-Schulak-VC

 

Prose editor Nikki Schulak writes and performs comedy about bodies and relationships. Her work has been published in numerous journals and websites, most recently at Full Grown People. She had essays included in VoiceCatcher 3 and VoiceCatcher 5 and served as an assistant prose co-editor for Voice Catcher 6. Her essay “On Not Seeing Whales” (Bellevue Literary Review) was chosen as a Notable Selection in Best American Essays 2013. Her most recent tattoo is an ampersand.

Desiree-Wright

Prose editor Desiree Wright started writing at age 6: handmade books of horse names, rhyming poetry and short stories. She paused her storytelling to entertain locals in Tonga with her bad accent and refusal to do karaoke. She is mother to two super-cool humans, two dogs, a flock of chickens and one naughty cat. She never finished her graduate degree and has no regrets. She recently renewed her vow to say “I am a writer” without any explanation.

 

VoiceCatcher Reading at Stonehenge Studios, Nov. 8, 2015

All are invited to hear these contributors to VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. 

stonehenge_studio

Sunday, November 8, 2015
7:00–9:00 p.m.
Stonehenge Studios
3508 SW Corbett Avenue
Portland, OR 97239

 

Cathy Cain is a writer, painter and printmaker whose work appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She was a 2014-15 Atheneum Fellow in Poetry at the Attic Institute, as well as a Poet’s Studio member there from 2012-14. She has also benefited from numerous Mountain Writers’ workshops. Her work has appeared in VoiceCatcher and Poeming Pigeons. Cathy is finalizing her book-length poetry collection tentatively titled Alive All At Once and is a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher. She has enjoyed being part of Portland’s writing community.

Juleen Johnson was published in the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She is also a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher. She is co-founder of Soundings: An Evening of Word and Sound. Juleen has been invited to read at BuzzPoems, Ink Noise Review, Open Door Enjambment and Cirque in Portland, Oregon. In California, she has read at the Steinbeck Museum, Hartnell College, Steinbeck Library and CSU Monterey Bay. Juleen attended the Wassaic Residency in Wassaic, New York. Her poems have appeared in print publications, including Cirque: A Literary JournalInk Noise ReviewSymmetryNervous BreakdownThe Rio Grand Review and Buried Letter Press. Juleen currently writes and creates art in Portland.

Darla Mottram’s work appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher. She is a soon-to-be graduate of Marylhurst University. Her work has recently been featured in NAILED Magazine, among others, and is forthcoming at The Birds We Piled Loosely. She is a co-founder of the social practice project Put-Pockets (put-pockets.tumblr.com), a blog that documents creative ways of putting poetry into the world.

Jennifer Kemnitz lives and writes in Portland. She is a great defender of plant life and can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Her work has appeared in the KerfVoiceCatcher and We’Moon, and has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and The Poetry Box. She is a reader for We’Moon, and is proud to serve as a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. Jennifer’s work appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland poet. Her work appears in numerous journals. A chapbook Urban Wild is out from Finishing Line Press. Ocean’s Laughter, poetry about Manzanita, Oregon, will be published by Aldrich Press in December 2015. Her work is forthcoming in the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher.

 

 

VoiceCatcher thanks Stonehenge Studios for hosting this event.

Submission Window is Open for the Journal!

Send us your best work for our upcoming Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions! Visit the journal site for full submission guidelines and access to Submittable. Read the most recent issue to get a sense of what we look for. Submissions are accepted now through November 15, 2015 for the Winter 2016 issue.

VoiceCatcher is proud to announce the editors who will read and select prose, poetry and art. The team is eager to receive your work, and to create and design the next issue.

The Winter 2016 Issue Editorial Team

Shawn Aveningo, Journal Designer and Administrator
Shawn is an award-winning, globally published poet whose work has appeared in over 80 literary journals and anthologies, including LA’s poeticdiversity – which recently nominated her poetry for a Pushcart Prize. She is co-founder of The Poetry Box® and managing editor of The Poeming Pigeon. Shawn is a proud mother of three who shares in the creative life with her husband in Beaverton, Oregon.

Cathy CainCathy Cain, Poetry Co-Editor
Cathy is a writer, painter and printmaker. She was a 2014-15 Atheneum Fellow in Poetry at the Attic Institute, as well as a Poet’s Studio member there from 2012-14. She has also benefited from numerous Mountain Writers’ workshops. Her work has appeared in VoiceCatcher and is forthcoming in Poeming Pigeons, slated for publication in October 2015. Cathy is finalizing her book-length poetry collection tentatively titled Alive All At Once. She has enjoyed being part of Portland’s writing community!

Thea ConstantineThea Constantine, Prose Co-Editor (fiction and nonfiction)
Thea was born in New York City into a family of actors and writers. She grew up in Hollywood, spent her youth in the clubs and streets of Los Angeles, and finally settled in Portland, Oregon. She is certified as an Amherst Writers and Artists facilitator and teaches weekly workshops with PDX Writers. Recent short stories have appeared in In Focus Magazine, Roving Writers, Stellazine and Watercress Journal. Her forthcoming book, Stumptown, began as a serial for the online magazine The Black Boot. She co-wrote VoiceCatcher’s monthly prompt column from 2013 to 2015 with her friend Carrie Connor, and looks forward to serving as a prose co-editor for VoiceCatcher’s next journal issue.

Sarah FaganSarah Fagan, Art Editor
Sarah received a bachelor’s in Fine Arts and English Literature from Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts. She worked as an editor for a New England arts magazine before relocating to Portland, Oregon in 2009. Here she decided to concentrate on making her own artwork by attending a certificate program at the Oregon College of Art and Craft where she studied bookbinding and painting. In Portland, Sarah developed a curriculum of arts classes that she taught to children at schools, libraries and other venues. When not teaching, she is painting – her forté is the contemporary still life. For 2015-16, Sarah will be the Umbrella Institute’s Artist-in-Residence in Concord, Massachusetts.

Juleen Johnson 3Juleen Johnson, Poetry Co-Editor
Juleen was published in the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She is co-founder of Soundings: An Evening of Word and Sound. She is in the critique group The Moonlit Poetry Caravan. Juleen has been invited to read at BuzzPoems, Ink Noise Review, Open Door Enjambment and Cirque in Portland, Oregon. In California, she has read at the Steinbeck Museum, Hartnell College, Steinbeck Library and CSU Monterey Bay. Juleen attended the Wassaic Residency in Wassaic, New York. Her poems have appeared in print publications, including Cirque: A Literary Journal, Ink Noise Review, Symmetry, Nervous Breakdown, The Rio Grand Review and Buried Letter Press. Juleen currently writes and creates art in Portland.

Jennifer KemnitzJennifer Kemnitz, Poetry Co-Editor 
Jennifer lives and writes in Portland. She is a great defender of plant life and can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Her work has appeared in the Kerf, VoiceCatcher and We’Moon, and has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and The Poetry Box. She is a reader for We’Moon, and is proud to serve as a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

Tiah Lindner Raphael, Managing Editor
Tiah
 also serves as president for VoiceCatcher, heading the board of directors. Her poetry appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher, and she has served as both a prose and a poetry editor for our publications. Her work has appeared in journals such as CutBank Literary Magazine and Paper Nautilus. When she is not playing with words, Tiah can be found indulging in her other creative obsessions including photography and urban gardening.

Helen Sinoradzki, Ph.D., Prose Co-Editor (fiction and nonfiction) 
Helen now also serves as an officer – secretary – on VoiceCatcher’s board of directors. A bookseller for more than 20 years, Helen currently works for Powell’s Books. In previous lives, she taught English and was a writer/editor at a national laboratory. With the help of the amazing writers at Pinewood Table, she completed a memoir, Thursday’s Child, and is searching for a publisher. She has published narrative nonfiction and short stories. She moved to Portland 17 years ago and plans to stay for the rest of her life.

An Embarrassment of Riches: Inspiration from Folk Tales, Mythology and Dreams

Writing Your Own Folk Tale
by Jennifer Kemnitz

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I could write half a dozen tales just spinning off the chicken hut passage in last month’s article. First, though, let’s look at general motifs to understand the structure of these tales and how they tick. Padraic Colum, a 20th-century Irish folklorist, says in his introduction to The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales, pp. ix-x, that special patterning in folk and fairy tales makes them recognizable.

One patterning feature is the use of chiming words to highlight passages. This might be actual rhyme, such as in “If you ride straight ahead, it is into the marriage bed.” Or, the rhyme pattern might be looser, such as vowel or consonant rhyme (termed assonance and consonance in poetry). Repetition may also appear, such as the hero’s incantation beginning, “Little hut, little hut.” This device increases suspense, as in “Little Red-Cap” on p.142 of Grimm’s. The heroine remarks to the wolf in disguise, “Oh! Grandmother … what big ears you have!” Then the phrase is repeated with the body part changed, focusing on eyes, hands, and finally the mouth, when he eats her.

A second feature is the tangible thing at the center of the story. These tales usually give special importance to a useful, familiar article, such as a hairbrush or a mirror. This grounds the story in reality and pulls in its listeners and readers; it also enchants the everyday world after the story. Will using a mirror ever feel quite the same after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”?

The third feature is a combination of the first two: items that correspond with each other, perhaps through echo or chime. Examples of correspondences are the mirror and glass coffin in “Snow White,” the spindle and thorns in “Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose,” and the tall tower and long hair in “Rapunzel.” Having these elements mirror and talk to each other gives an internal coherence to the world of the tale, no matter how different it may feel from our everyday reality. Using items of symbolic value to the tale is also key.

Writing a folk tale puts you in a special frame of mind; you are approximating dream space or mythological time-space. Focus on the meaning behind the action rather than on how things actually happen in our world. Think of how your dreams work, how abrupt and illogical the scene changes can seem, how the dream story feels to you, the effects in the psyche.

The folk style can give rise to interesting authorial voices, voices full of crackle and charm. This vitality can arrest the readers and catch them up in the narrative. I have felt freed by experimenting with these voices, myself. Simply donning a magisterial, omniscient voice or a winking, comical one leads to interesting outcomes in narrative.

I have written a few fairy or folk tales, and an even greater number of hybrid tales edging into surreal or uncanny territory. A larger dose of realism mixed in with folky elements might yield magical realism and other possibilities. Some of my poetry also carries these elements and influences. A poem might start with a kernel from a dream and then become more realistic. Or, it might begin as realistically descriptive, then flip over suddenly into another dimension. You can achieve various effects this way.

Here are starting points and exercises to integrate fairy tale motifs into your own work:

  • Find an incident or experience in your or someone else’s life and start spinning a folk story around it. Just start playing and see what happens.
  • Pick a plant, an animal, and a human with passions and a problem. You probably have the beginning of a tale right there if you inject some dream logic in the telling.
  • With a particular person or character in mind, what kind of magical tale might that person find him or herself in? For instance, I am writing a fairy tale starring my grandmother as a child. She was unknown to me in many ways; she was not forthcoming about herself and her feelings, much less her dreams. I want to know more, but she has passed on. Now I am writing her into an interesting imaginal space of my own, based on her time period and place of origin. While the character will probably end up with few similarities with my actual grandmother, she is a starting point and an impetus to write.
  • Another jumping-off point might be a public figure you are fascinated with or even tired of hearing about in the media. Mine the National Enquirer for ideas. Names can always be changed once the tale is spun!
  • Or, pick a familiar, practical object you would like to explore by infusing it with fairy tale associations. Make the story hinge on this object, maybe making it useful to one of the characters at a crucial point. I once read a funny Lithuanian folk tale about a bread roll and its adventures in the world. Really! So it could be anything. Wouldn’t it be exciting to read a modern folk tale that incorporated a smart phone? Or a lawnmower?  How about a can opener? And how fascinating to imagine what these objects might symbolize.

Finally, what are your favorite stories – written, oral, or from television and cinema? Write down the bones, figure out why they work, and transform them with the symbolism of dream. After all, many fairy and folk tales in the Western canon originated in India. As they spread out, over centuries, they changed according to people’s local tastes and the times. Let’s keep that ball rolling!

 

Jennifer KemnitzJennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist-poet who lives and writes in Portland. She is a great defender of plant life, and can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Jennifer has been published previously in VoiceCatcher and anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and The Poetry Box. Her work is forthcoming from We’Moon and the Kerf.  This article is the third and final in her enchanting series, “An Embarrassment of Riches,” special to VoiceCatcher.

An Embarrassment of Riches: Inspiration from Folk Tales, Mythology and Dreams

The Apples of Youth and the Water of Life
by Jennifer Kemnitz

Last time, I wrote of the non sequiturs that appear in dreams. Similarly, events in a folk or fairy tale don’t follow a logical arc, but can be deeply satisfying in a way that a rational argument is not. For instance, look at the following passage from the Russian folk tale, “The Apples of Youth and the Water of Life,” from Russian Folk Tales: Stories of Adventure and Magic from Twenty-seven Kingdoms, pp. 18-19:

Baba Yaga

“If you ride to the right, you lose your horse. And how far can I get without my horse?” he thought. “If you ride straight ahead, it is into the marriage bed. But that is not why I have set out on this journey. Ride to the left, you save your horse. And that is the best road for me.”

So he turned down the road where he would save his horse but would himself be lost. He rode all day through the green meadows, over the stony mountains, till nightfall. The crimson sun was setting when he came to a little hut. The hut was standing on a chicken leg, and had one small window. The prince called out in a loud voice:

“Little hut, little hut, turn your back to the forest, your front to me. As I enter you, so may I come out again.”

The little hut turned its back to the forest, its front to Prince Ivan. But first he went into the forest, where he saw a very old witch, Baba Yaga.  She was spinning and combing a hank of silk.

Just this short passage presents a number of irresistible elements. The mystical power of three appears in the form of a three-prong choice at the beginning. The hero chooses the most difficult path, showing valiance that renders him sympathetic. The witch spinning in the forest is a compelling image, but the most exciting bit is the chicken house. I find it hard to speak in normal language about its fascination: a telltale sign that we have run into a magical motif.

How does it achieve its effects? A structure that “was standing” is odd, right off, because it makes the house into a being of agency. The reader does not expect a house to have legs, much less only one. Note it has just one small window, as well. So something is going on with one-pointedness. Has our normal world of duality narrowed down to a singularity? It seems to mark primal space, at least. And it is a chicken leg, which may reach back to ideas of witches flying on broomsticks or actual birds and, before that, to the bird goddess figures found in ancient sites in southeastern Europe. The leg might be a mythic element, descended into story, and creating deep echoes, indeed.

Prince Ivan utters an incantation, another magical element that might hark back to old rituals performed upon entering a strange home. Will one be entering upon a wild and savage space, or a home with the marks of courtesy and civilization? The exhortation opens up this possibility before us and, since the hut does turn around at his words, we know that things were really on the line there for a moment. When the prince does not go into the house right away, one might wonder what the point was, as one might of seemingly unrelated sequences in a dream.

This order of events makes it look, however, as if the spell of his incantation had a broader effect than first appeared; it sets the stage in several ways. And yet, why turn the house away from the forest if he is just going to run right into the forest anyway? Is the house, itself, suspect in some way? Does he just not want the house looking at him while he is in the forest? Or perhaps his incantation negotiated the line between wild and tame and made the house a safe space for his later emergence from the forest. Perhaps Prince Ivan came upon Baba Yaga spinning a material of great prize only because he had been thoughtful upon encountering her house – clearly magical, given the chicken leg.

I will burrow further into folk tale structure in my next installment in this series. For now, the best way to enter the headspace of folk tales is, well, to read them. Even if you read fairy tales as a child, seek them out, in their original editions, as an adult:

  • Dip into the innumerable volumes of collected fairy and folk tales from all parts of the world, from Lithuania to West Africa to the South Pacific. Dive in wherever you please and spread out from there!
  • The number of television series devoted to modern retellings of fairy tales and hybrid forms shows the growing interest in them. New tales are also being written, appearing in journals such as Fairy Tale Review, Conjunctions, Tin House, and Unstuck.
  • I highly recommend the modern folk tales of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, widely considered the greatest living Russian writer. Her stories, once suppressed by Soviet authorities, have been translated into English and published by Penguin just in the last decade. They are a revelation. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Petrushevskaya got me to believe in the relevance and power of the modern folk and fairy tale, and inspired me to start writing them.

Myths are different from folk tales; myths have a cosmic scope and first had a religious or ritual function, rather than pure entertainment. Myths tend to describe and embody ritual, with incantatory language producing a trancelike effect that can open onto other worlds. As the source of much folk tale magic, they are well worth study.

  • For a wealth of inspiration in mythology, the works of Robert Graves, Sir James Frazier, and Joseph Campbell are a great resource.
  • For a modern take on old myths, consult the Canongate Myth Series, an ever-expanding series of novella-length retellings. I especially recommend The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood, Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt, Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, by Dubravka Ugresic, and The Helmet of Horror, by Victor Pelevin.
  • If you are interested in women’s roles in mythology, check into the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM), a body dedicated to supporting and sharing research. When I attended their recent symposium in Portland, I enjoyed hearing talks about mythologies from around the world, including a fascinating one on Northern Italian folk tales.

Next month, we will explore writing your own folk tale.

 

Jennifer KemnitzJennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist-poet who lives and writes in Portland. She is a great defender of plant life, and can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Jennifer has been published previously in VoiceCatcher and anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and The Poetry Box. Her work is forthcoming from We’Moon and the Kerf.

An Embarrassment of Riches: Inspiration from Folk Tales, Mythology and Dreams

by Jennifer Kemnitz

How to thoroughly intrigue and hook the reader? With so much literary content literally at one’s fingertips in this technological age, the question has never been more relevant for a writer. The many approaches to this, no matter the form or genre, include compelling voice, character, diction and cadence. I would like to explore one particular resource: the folk and fairy tale genre is a veritable well of ideas just waiting to be tapped, a repository of storytelling know-how since time immemorial.

Originally, the tales were told to entertain and amaze people of all ages, as well as to illustrate the truth of life as it is experienced, if not quite as it plays out. Later, many of the dark elements were smoothed way in print editions and film to make them more appropriate for modern-day children. Their most magical, fascinating elements derive from the language of dreams or from myths that likely no longer served a religious purpose by the time of the tales’ inception. Just as myths were first mined to create these tales, studying folk tale motifs and structural elements can now be a practical tool in writing new stories, poetry and creative nonfiction.

Two of the poems that I presented in the VoiceCatcher reading at Multnomah County Central Library, in March 2015, had their genesis from dream elements (including “Under the Sign of the Water Bearer”), and the third was riffing off a myth or legend. One of my main objectives in the last few years has been to write modern folk tales, or at least some hybrid form blended with contemporary fiction. For me, it is harder than it looks to write in the dream space these tales require, but the effects are well worth it and render a memorable story.

Just what is happening in both folk and fairy tales to create their magical effects? The magic has much to do with the symbology of dreams, so take the time to pay attention to your most interesting dreams and study why they have so much psychic power. Dreams make intuitive sense to the dreamer and to those who study dreams enough to recognize broad themes, but they first appear full of non sequiturs as far as the logical mind can puzzle out.

In the next article in this series, we will look at this subject in greater depth. In the meantime, here are tips to get you in the right headspace:

  • Jot down interesting dreams or dream elements. The more attention I pay to my dreams, the better I remember them in the days following. If you have not focused much on your dreams before, you might be surprised at what you discover about the psychological meaning of your dream just in the act of writing it down. You may be able to use these elements as magical motifs in your writing.
  • Look out the window or go to a cafe and begin to translate what you are seeing and hearing into dream language or significance. What might happen next if it were all a dream? What could happen? And what might it all seem or come to mean? Begin to blend the waking and dream worlds a bit. From here, a fairy or folk tale could develop.

Jennifer KemnitzJennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist-poet who lives and writes in Portland. She is a great defender of plant life, and can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Jennifer has been published previously in VoiceCatcher and anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and The Poetry Box. Her work is forthcoming from We’Moon and the Kerf.

 

Catch These Voices and Visions

April 20 ReadingVoiceCatcher Reading! Meet and hear seven poets from the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. Come early for food, drink and community.

Monday, April 20, 2015
Social Hour 5:00–6:00 p.m.
Reading 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Glyph Café and Arts Space
804 NW Couch St.
Portland, OR 97209

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VoiceCatcher Annie Lighthart, most recently of the Winter 2015 issue, will be doing readings in April and June. Annie published her poetry collection Iron String with Oregon’s Airlie Press. She earned an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College, and has taught at Boston College. She teaches poetry workshops through Mountain Writers; her next one is June 2015.

Annie LighthartTuesday, April 21, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Milepost 5
Denizen Gallery
900 NE 81st Ave
Portland, OR 97213

Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Milwaukie Poetry Series
Pond House at the Ledding Library
2215 SE Harrison Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222

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We 3 by Theresa Snyder
VoiceCatcher columnist Theresa Snyder will read from her book, We 3 – A Journey Through Caregiving, about her experience as a baby boomer caring for her aging parents.

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 7:00–8:00 p.m.
Another Read Through
3932 N. Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

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Willa Schneberg

 

VoiceCatcher Willa Schneberg will read as part of the Nye Beach Writers Series.

Saturday, April 25, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Newport Visual Arts Center
777 NW Beach Drive
Newport OR 97365

The next day, Willa will teach a free workshop: Utilizing the News for Poem-making.  Sunday, April 26, 2015, 2:00–4:00 p.m. at the Newport Public Library.

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Polish your skills as a presenter and reader through the Toastmasters program. Unique among Toastmasters clubs, the local Thrill of the Quill club caters to writers. This club meets the first Saturday of each month. All are welcome to attend.

Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters Club
Saturday, May 2, 2015,  9:30 a.m.
Courtyard Village
4555 NE 66th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98661
360-606-9306

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Poeming PigeonsVoiceCatcher poet and journal designer  Shawn Aveningo of The Poetry Box®  proudly announces the release of Poeming Pigeons – Poems about Birds. In this curated, international anthology, you will discover stories that make you wonder, cry, laugh, cringe and inspire – all through poems about birds.The book launch celebration includes VoiceCatcher poets: Annie Lighthart, Christa Kaainoa, Jennifer Kemnitz, Linda Strever, ‘M’, Pattie Palmer-Baker, Shawn Aveningo, and Tricia Knoll.

Monday, May 4, 2015, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Ford Food & Drink
2505 SE 11th Ave. (at Division)
Portland, OR  97202

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VoiceCatcher Reading!  Meet and hear authors from the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions:

Thursday, May 14, 2015, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
The Waypost
3120 N. Williams Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

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Sarah FaganVoiceCatcher’s art editor and contributor Sarah Fagan is teaming up with other artists and businesses in Portland this summer. They will offer budding artists half-day, themed camps in Portland. For more information see: Treasure Island: A Pirate and Explorers Camp, ages 5–7, July 20–24, and Pioneer Camp for Girls, ages 8–11, Aug. 10–14, 2015.

 

Click here for the calendar of readings from VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

Click here for the contact form to let us know of other offerings you or other VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!

Catch These Voices and Visions

Margaret Chula by Andie Petkus Photography

Margaret Chula by Andie Petkus Photography

Learn the craft of haibun with VoiceCatcher Margaret Chula. Haibun is a combination of prose and haiku made famous by the 17th century, Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. Following an introduction to haiku and haibun, participants will read and discuss haibun by contemporary poets. The last hour of the class will be devoted to writing and sharing your own stories through haibun. This workshop is open to writers of all levels of experience. Class size is limited and registration is required. Register online or by calling 541-312-1032.

Sunday, April 12, 2015
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Deschutes Public Library
Library Admin. Conference Room
510 NW Wall
Bend, OR 97701

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Donna PrinzmetalThe Stonehenge Studios Poetry Reading Series is held monthly on second Sundays. Free and open to the public. April will include VoiceCatcher Donna Prinzmetal.

The Studio Series: Poetry Reading and Open Mic
Sunday, April 12, 2015, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Stonehenge Studios
3508 SW Corbett Avenue, Portland, OR 97239

Donna Prinzmetal is a poet, psychotherapist and teacher. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Oregonian, The Comstock Review and The JournalSnow White, When No One Was Looking was published in May 2014 by CW Books. This book includes persona poems in which Snow White speaks, often in a contemporary voice, and multiple versions of the fairy tale. It is Donna’s first book.

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April 20 ReadingVoiceCatcher Reading! Meet and hear seven poets from the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. Come early for food, drink and community.

Monday, April 20, 2015
Social Hour 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Reading 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Glyph Café and Arts Space
804 NW Couch St.
Portland, OR 97209

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VoiceCatcher Annie Lighthart, most recently of the Winter 2015 issue, will be doing readings in April and June. Annie published her poetry collection Iron String with Oregon’s Airlie Press. She earned an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College, and has taught at Boston College. She teaches poetry workshops through Mountain Writers; her next one is June 2015.

Annie LighthartTuesday, April 21, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Milepost 5
Denizen Gallery
900 NE 81st Ave
Portland, OR 97213

Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Milwaukie Poetry Series
Pond House at the Ledding Library
2215 SE Harrison Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222

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We 3 by Theresa Snyder
VoiceCatcher columnist Theresa Snyder will read from her book, We 3 – A Journey Through Caregiving, about her experience as a baby boomer caring for her aging parents.

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Another Read Through
3932 N. Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

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Polish your skills as a presenter and reader through the Toastmasters program. Unique among Toastmasters clubs, the local Thrill of the Quill club caters to writers. This club meets the first Saturday of each month. All are welcome to attend.

Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters Club
Saturday, May 2, 2015,  9:30 a.m.
Courtyard Village
4555 NE 66th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98661
360-606-9306

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Poeming PigeonsVoiceCatcher poet and journal designer Shawn Aveningo of The Poetry Box®  proudly announces the release of Poeming Pigeons – Poems about Birds. In this curated, international anthology, you will discover stories that make you wonder, cry, laugh, cringe and inspire – all through poems about birds.The book launch celebration includes VoiceCatcher poets: Annie Lighthart, Christa Kaainoa, Jennifer Kemnitz, Linda Strever, ‘M’, Pattie Palmer-Baker, Shawn Aveningo, and Tricia Knoll.

Monday, May 4, 2015, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Ford Food & Drink
2505 SE 11th Ave. (at Division)
Portland, OR  97202

 *  *  *

VoiceCatcher Reading!  Meet and hear authors from the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions:

Thursday, May 14, 2015, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
The Waypost
3120 N. Williams Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

*  *  *

Sarah FaganVoiceCatcher’s art editor and contributor Sarah Fagan is teaming up with other artists and businesses in Portland this summer. They will offer budding artists half-day, themed camps in Portland. For more information see: Treasure Island: A Pirate and Explorers Camp, ages 5-7, July 20-24, and Pioneer Camp for Girls, ages 8-11, Aug. 10-14, 2015.

 

Click here for the calendar of readings from VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

Click here for the contact form to let us know of other offerings VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!

About Our Readers: March 28, 2015 Event

All are invited to hear these contributors to the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions read at the:

Multnomah County Central Library
U.S. Bank Room, 801 SW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205
Saturday, March 28, 2015
1:00-3:00 p.m.

Cathy Cain
Cathy Cain is a writer and artist living in Oregon. She is a fellow in the Attic Institute’s Atheneum Master’s Writing Program. Previously a two-year member of the Attic Poet’s Studio, Cathy has participated in numerous workshops hosted by Mountain Writers.

 

Jennifer KemnitzJennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist poet who writes from the tranquil edge of Portland, Oregon. She has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and her work is forthcoming by We’Moon.

 

 

Margie LeeMargie Lee is a writer and artist living in Portland, Oregon. She grew up on a farm by Puget Sound surrounded by the forested mountains of Bellingham, Washington. She has exhibited her art in New York and has written several books and numerous short stories, as well as essays and poems. Her poetry has appeared in both Saturday Afternoons and Windfall.

 

Gypsy MartinA resident of Camas, Washington, Gypsy Martin is mom to two boys and has achieved minor fame as a lunch lady at their elementary school. Her short fiction has been published online  in the Journal of Microliterature. Her work has also appeared in print anthologies, including the forthcoming Flash in the Attic: 44 Very Short Stories from Fiction Attic Press. She also won a prize in the memoir category of the 2012 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition for a story about the indignities of homemade underwear.

 

Elizabeth MoscosoElizabeth Moscoso is a student at Marylhurst University, majoring in English literature. Her goal is to combine her love of writing, cooking and traveling and share her experiences through stories. She lives with her family and beloved furry pets. During her spare time she maintains a presence on her blog.

 

Meghana MysoreMeghana Mysore is a junior at Lake Oswego High School where she gravitates towards all things word: her school’s newspaper, the literary magazine, and the poetry reading event on the speech and debate eam. She is president of her school’s Literary and Poetry Club and has received several regional keys from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

 

Jennifer Pratt-WalterJennifer Pratt-Walter is a true product of the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband Craig on a small farm in Vancouver where she is out in nature as much as possible. A harpist, Jennifer is also drawn to writing poetry, exploring digital photography, singing and folk dancing. She has three grown children and one horse named Lady.

Here is the flyer for this event, for your own sharing and posting.

VoiceCatcher thanks the Multnomah County Central Library for hosting this event.