Poetry is a great way for people to express their feelings or thoughts on topics they are very passionate about, whether that be talking about adversity, the struggles of loss, or even analyzing dreams. Often people use their own experiences or others to relay the message they want to show people. These are some of the exceptional poets that Oregon has to offer to the greater writing community.
Triston Dabney is an undergraduate Oprah Winfrey Scholar from Baltimore, Maryland. He has been published ten times in the last year. He hopes to pursue a career in higher education and publish a book of poems in the near future.
Eleanor Berry’s latest poetry collection, Works of Wildfire, won the 2022 Grayson Books Chapbook Award. Previous publications include Green November (Traprock Books, 2007), No Constant Hues (Turnstone Books of Oregon, 2015), and Only So Far (Main Street Rag, 2019). A past president of the Oregon Poetry Association and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Berry co-founded and chairs the Mid-Valley Poetry Society. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and has taught literature and writing at several Wisconsin colleges and universities, as well as Willamette University, and led poetry workshops for OPA, Sitka, and other literary and arts organizations.
Marilyn Johnston is a recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship for Writers and grants from Fishtrap and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women Writers. Her publications include RED DUST RISING (2004, habit of rainy nights press), poems about a family’s recovery from war, and a full collection, BEFORE IGNITING (2020, Rippling Brook Press). Winner of the Salmon Creek Journal Flash Fiction Contest and finalist for the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, she has led writing workshops for adults and students throughout the U.S. and in Spain. She teaches creative writing in the Artist in the Schools Program.
Brigitte Goetze, a retired biologist and angora goat farmer, lives in Western Oregon were she divides her time between writing and fiber works. She finds inspiration for both endeavors in nature and the stories and patterns handed down from generation to generation. Eavesdropping to the never-ending conversations between the biological and the psychological, the scientific and spiritual dimensions of life, she uses what she gleans to spin her own yarn.
Lana Hechtman Ayers
Cat mama, dog mama, sky-watcher, recovering coffee-addict, former New Yorker Lana Hechtman Ayers writes in a room over the garage in Newport, Oregon. Her poems appear in such places as Rattle, The London Reader, and Verse Daily. Author of seven full-length poetry collections, the most recent is When All Else Fails (The Poetry Box), with two more forthcoming: Overtures (Kelsay Books, September 2023) and The Autobiography of Rain (Fernwood Press, August 2024). Lana leads writing workshops, facilitates a Zoom Poetry Book Club, and manages three poetry presses where she has shepherded over 100 poetry titles into the world.
Linda Gelbrich is a retired Clinical Medical Social Worker in Corvallis, Oregon, who focused on mind-body healthcare and the benefits of creative expression. She came to poetry by way of healthcare conferences where poems found their way into presentations, and by hearing William Stafford’s poem, “How I Met My Muse.” Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, journals, online, on a theater marquee, a permanent art installation, along with photographs on notecards she creates, and in several chapbooks.
Charlotte Friedman is a poet, translator and teacher who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in New Jersey. Her nonfiction book, The Girl Pages, was published by Hyperion, and her poetry in journals such as Connecticut River Review, Intima and Waterwheel Review. Her translations of Ch’ol poetry (with Carol Rose Little) have been published in World Literature Today, The Arkansas International and elsewhere. She taught narrative medicine at Barnard College for ten years, as well as in hospitals in New York and Israel.
Ruth Q Leibowitz
R.Q. Leibowitz is a psychotherapist, facilitator of writing and Tai Chi, and animal-lover who lives in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been published in Soul-Lit, Hippocampus, Timberline Review, Five on the Fifth, Peregrine, and Coal City Review. She is grateful to her writing community for their existence, support, and imagination.
Eva is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Portland, Oregon to master in book publishing at Portland State. She currently work at the Pacific Sentinel as the executive editor. She likes to write poetry, listen to spooky podcasts, and hang out with her cat.
Rene is an emerging poet with an MFA in Creative Writing from National University and BA in English from Oregon State. She is immensely grateful to have a community like Willamette Writers that understands her obsession with words.
All of these individuals have amazing poems that you should go read and explore and hopefully inspire yourself in one way or another.