Notes on the process

Seattle-Saginaw: The Reach of Theodore Roethke
Defiance Street
CIRQUE - Book Fair Signing - AWP
Blue Moon for Poets Reading
Poetry Parley
Poets in Winter - The Series
Alaska Poets in Winter ~ 2013
Alaska Poets in Winter ~ 2013 - Morgan
Alaska Poets in Winter ~ 2013 - Emily Wall
Live & Moving, 2012
Amazing M-P
Spenard Jazz Festival
Kleven as poet
Creative Process
Fremont Show
"Like This" -- in production
HeartWorks Press
HeartWorks Press Catalog
Mike's Vita
Aniak dances
Poems on the Fly 2010
Poem at Christmas - 2009
"To the Moon" - Roethke
Roethke Score
Roethke - Running commentary
Roethke Poetry
Roethke film - Raw footage
"To the Moon! Credits
Poster - The Making of Roethke tribute
T-Shirts and more for Roethke
Production Stills
"Plotting" Midnight Sun Cafe
Naked Seattle - Fremont Solstice
BHS Class of '63

Notes from Sandy Kleven

Just spent three days at the Spenard Jazz Festival, where I was the “resident poet.”  The festival was held at Organic Oasis… “Original Music, Original Minds” (the slogan pointing out the fact that all the work was original… no covers). The cost of the thing was $25, the first night and $30 total (additional) for the next two full days. The gate brought in several thousand—maybe $5000. There was merchandize – shirts, mouse pads, magnets for the fridge. All the performers, myself included, split the proceeds from the door. 

This jazz fest is in its second year. Last year it was held for just one day. It was so successful that this year, it’s three. Yngvil Guttu (the organizer) got support from the State Council on the Arts and the Nation Endowment for the Arts. I’ll have to confirm that more precisely. 



Today, I woke up with the idea of a festival of poetry, called, “Poetry -- Live and Moving.” A similar event… starting with one day, building to more than that if it were successful. “Poetry – Live and Moving” could follow the same path – gaining support via grants and splitting the door among the poets. 

Twice, I performed a prepared group of poems backed up by a jazz band.   The title of my set was “Eating Poetry” (from Mark Strand, “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth, There is no happiness like mine, I have been eating poetry.”)


 For three days, I wrote poems on demand for $1. I did the set the first night and on the closing night, I did it again, along with poems I had written, on the fly, throughout the week-end.


I have posted some of the “fly” poems to a website. People gave me topics to which I would write. They fell into three categories: babies (now and future), people at the festival, like clarinet player, Carl, (“Such history, your hot black stick, back to Benny Goodman and the Big Bands…”), and then universal stuff – pleasure, breathing, oneness with the universe.  Most of the poems were short, a few were longer, with rhyme.  The group of poems on the web page were the ones I read closing night.  


The writing quickly became serious stuff – one young man whispered to me “I just turned twenty-two and the love of my life just told me she is pregnant.”  He said that his girlfriend is expecting his baby.  She is in Florida.  He just came to Alaska, not yet knowing.  He didn’t say why he was here. They hadn’t decided what to do about this news. I wrote a poem for him before I knew about any details about his life, but the poem fit somehow.   The last line was “Don’t take the long way.  Don’t take the long way.   Home.”    After he left, I found, “Thanks, Sandy,” with a smiley face written in my notebook. 

Another woman asked me to write for her first grandchild, expected soon (in California).  She said, “I will have them read it at the baby shower, because I won’t be able to be there.”  She told me this before I wrote it. A little pressure but it’s pretty easy to hit the mark when writing about babies. I wrote three baby poems.


Soon, I was reflecting:  this is serious stuff. One woman essentially dropped her identity/self into my hand and bought me a glass of wine before I started.  She did not throw it in my face when I was done.


I could see the impact… many times tears, smiles. Sometimes, “Wow, are you clairvoyant or what?” 

I want to think about organizing “Poetry: Live and Moving” -- to support the art and the artists. 


3978 Defiance Street

Anchorage, Alaska 99504

Link to CIRQUE @ AWP