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The Perilously Poetic Women of Dancing Girl Press

April 27, 2015

What is the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done for your writing? That is what Laura Christina Dunn, author of newly-released Spider Blue, wanted each of her fellow Dancing Girl Press poets to share on Friday night with their packed-house audience at In Other Words.  It elicited some very intriguing answers that balanced out a night full of rapture-inducing and powerful poetry with a little bit of silly fun.


Laura Christina Dunn, author of Spider Blue

“Trina Burke does not engage in dangerous activities as a rule, though she has been known to drink alone and trespass on private property for her writing,” said host Laura Hayden as she introduced the first poet.  Trina is the author of Wreck Idyll from Dancing Girl Press as well as two other chapbooks and assistant editor of Bone Bouqueta journal for new and established female poets.

In other feats of danger, Laura Dunn herself has stood in the middle of Powell Boulevard with a taxidermied deer head for the sake of her own writing.  We did not get the entire story on that one.  One poet said she had mooned the entire writing department at undergrad during parent’s week.  Another said that whatever the most dangerous thing was, she had not done it yet, ominously suggesting that it might happen by the end of the night.

Susan Denning, author of She Preferred to Read the Knives and How to Live Forever, touched home when she said that the most dangerous thing she has ever done for her writing is simply to keep writing.  To stop would be safe…


Front Row Left to Right: Ally Harris, Amber Nelson, Trina Burke Back Row Left to Right: Jane Wong, Laura Christina Dunn, Susan Denning

The poets that presented at Friday night’s reading ran the spectrum from quiet and contemplative to aggressively outspoken in their poetic voices. And while some pieces were longer or more musical, others were short and terse.  But one thing is for sure: as Laura Dunn put it herself, “These are women of immense power.” Ally Harris is the poetry editor of Heavy Feather Review and her Dancing Girl Press chapbook is called Floor BabyMost recently she has written Your Twin Was After Me.  Amber Nelson wrote the incredibly evocative Dutch Baby Comboa chapbook that musically and creatively carries the reader through the experience of a woman’s abortion.  She is also co-founder of Alice Blue Review. Jane Wong is author of Dendochronology and teaches at University of Washington.  In Other Words thanks these fabulous poets for bringing so many creative spirits through its doors all at once.

I felt each image released upon me by these incredible Dancing Girl poets Friday night like I had felt each Portland raindrop that same morning.  At the moment of impact each one was refreshing and awakening, steady but unpredictable.  And as I let them all sink in, it wasn’t long before everything started to feel more lush, more vibrant, and more recklessly alive.

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