A tanka walk with Haryette Mullen

photo-1462774603919-1d8087e62cadInspired by Los Angeles poet Haryette Mullen and her book Urban Tumbleweed, today a group of students and I took a tanka walk around the Metropolitan Learning Center building in NW Portland.

Each writer made notes about their exterior and interior landscape. Walking quietly and carrying a small piece of paper, we wrote down what we saw, heard, touched, smelled, thought, and felt as we moved through the building.

This is one of my favorite activities, because I love writing and I love walking. Last year, I took a tanka walk with students at Cleveland High School, and I was so inspired by their creativity that I decided to take the project with me into my own backyard. Continue reading “A tanka walk with Haryette Mullen”

we are portland

Among the many things I love about my adopted hometown of Portland (including great public transit and bike routes, community acupuncture, gardens, and beautiful summers), I love the constant overlap of art with shared public space.

The city is full of commissioned sculpture and art installations. Seems like even the tiny corner coffee shop has a rotating exhibit from local visual artists– and a packed waiting list. There’s poetry on the bus and dangling from the trees. There’s practice Shakespeare in the park.

Lately, I’ve been appreciating a series of beautiful photographs at the parks & rec community center down the street. I’m especially interested in it because it’s a project funded by RACC, the same grants organization that has helped make Winged possible:

Check it out!


We are Portland is a youth-run mobile portrait studio that captures the faces and stories of a changing Portland. These portraits were taken at free Family Portrait Days hosted by My Story’s youth photographers. At these festive neighborhood events, new conceptions of community are formed, and as the portraits are broadly shared, Portland youth focus the lens of public discourse on the places they call home.


the power of writing

this video will give you goosebumps.

witness the transformative power of writing in this short segment from a free writing workshop, made possible by write around portland.

get a behind-the-scenes look at the continuing impact of this non-profit, which brings free 10-week writing workshops to underserved populations all over the portland area. from burn units and prisons to homeless shelters and low-income housing, these communities get the chance to connect to one another through simple, yet powerful writing exercises.

I’ve had the privilege to volunteer with write around portland for over two years now, including one year as a workshop facilitator. I just love what they do, and what I get to do alongside them, thanks to the generosity of many, many volunteers and donors.