Featured Poet: Martha Silano

Seattle poet Martha Silano will be the featured reader for Ozark Poets and Writers Collective. The group meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Nightbird books on Dickson Street. Silano is an English instructor at Bellevue College in Seattle, Wash., and is the author of three books of poetry. She received her bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and her MFA from the University of Washington.

Silano grew up in Metuchen, N.J., on the same block as the late poet, columnist and editor John Ciardi.  Her parents retired to Fayetteville where her father researches in the Chemical Engineering department of the University of Arkansas.  She is married to author Langdon Cook and together they have two school-aged children, a cat and a gecko.

Silano started writing poems in the second grade when her teacher taught poetry and haiku and she kept them in a notebook at home.  She is now the author of three full-length collections: “What the Truth Tastes Like” of which used copies can be found at Amazon.com, “Blue Positive” which is available on Steel Toe Books’ website and “The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception” available on the UPNE website or Amazon.com.

“In general I need to experience something unexpected or wacky or inadvertently profound or poetic to kick-start my poet-brain,” says Silano. She doesn’t find much inspiration in traditional subjects like sunsets or beaches because they seem more suited for greeting cards.

However, Silano says that triggers could include, “a snippet of overheard conversation, hanging out and talking with my kids, visiting a second hand store or a museum.” She gets more inspiration in places where you wouldn’t expect poetry to exist, like a law office or the musty aisles of a thrift store. Other examples include a sign that said ‘Change is Available at the Stack Call Desk’ and ‘This is a Difficult Shop for Children.’

Among Silano’s favorite poets are: Lucia Perillo, Dorothea Lasky, Kary Wayson, Kelli Russell Agodon, Albertos Rios, Pablo Neruda, Allen Ginsberg, Juan Felipe Herrera, William Stafford, Tony Hoagland, Mark Doty, Bob Hicok and Patricia Smith, who is both a traditional and performance poet. For more information on Silano, she has a blog at bluepositive.blogspot.com and she tweets as well.

Silano will have a small supply of her books for sale at the reading. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own poetry to share at open mic. Ashley McHugh said,  “[OPWC] really encourages a sense of community, even camaraderie, that’s rare to come across; and the atmosphere is always warm and welcoming.”

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