writers & artists

Fighting Words at Foetry.com

Los Angeles Times
June 17, 2005
By Alex Tizon

PORTLAND, Oregon – He’s not scary in person. Alan Cordle is 36, pale and round with thick glasses and soft fleshy cheeks. He smiles often and speaks in a wispy voice, which suits his day job as a librarian at Portland Community College. He also happens to be the most despised — some would say most feared — man in American poetry. At the very least, he is for the moment the most talked-about figure in this remote corner of the literary world.

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Hemingway’s Last Retreat

Los Angeles Times
June 20, 2004
By Alex Tizon

KETCHUM, Idaho – The house is pretty much the way Ernest Hemingway left it, as if he had stepped outside just a moment ago. Even the antelope heads in the living room, with their marbled eyes, appear to be waiting for him. They stare out at a room frozen in time, suspended even in its slight messiness. The Life magazines look recently perused. Papers lie strewn on a table. Next to the fireplace is a black-and-white RCA television. He used to watch prizefights from the long, green couch across the room. The fabric is worn where he sat.

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Seeking Poetic Justice

Los Angeles Times
March 3, 2003
By Alex Tizon

PORT TOWNSEND, Washington – The poet needs another cigarette. He’d worked himself down to eight smokes a day, on pace to quit before his 60th birthday, but now he’s back up to a pack and not sleeping very much besides.

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The Art of Grief

The Seattle Times
July 21, 2002
By Alex Tizon

This is a brief story about evolution, and how one thing changes into another. How grief turns into paint, how paint can turn into art, and how art can set you free, or at least make you feel better.

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Thom Jones and the Cosmic Joke

The Seattle Times
April 12, 2000
By Alex Tizon

MAYBE THIS WAS something that happened to ex-janitors, one of their secret compulsions. Maybe it was an epileptic seizure. In any case, he could not resist. The floor needed sweeping, and the dust-sweeper was there, leaning against a wall, seductively, and before he could be stopped, Thom Jones was sweeping the floor and evidently liking it.

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Writing and Fighting: Peter Bacho keeps a connection to his past

The Seattle Times
March 1, 1998
By Alex Tizon

LET’S BEGIN WITH HIS pickup truck. It’s green, it runs, its windshield wipers don’t squeak. Those are the nicest things you could say about it. Otherwise, it’s noteworthy only for what it contains in the cab, namely, a world. Peter Bacho’s world. A quick look-around will give you clues to everything you need to know about the man. Immediately, you might notice his world needs vacuuming.

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Dark Blue Suit

The Seattle Times
November 16, 1997
By Alex Tizon

A telling scene in Peter Bacho’s new story collection takes place in a martial-arts school, on a flat piece of wood about the size of a door — a fighting platform, with no ropes and no room to run. Two men, separated only by the length of their limbs, pummel each other until one is knocked off. The idea: learn to fight or lose your ground.

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What a Writer Does

The Seattle Times
June 20, 1993
By Alex Tizon

Barry Lopez was talking about the writing life, his head alternately straining up for the right word and then bowing down for the right attitude, and it was hard to resist the notion that under his buttoned-down cowboy duds was the heart of a monk.

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Russell Chatham’s Brushstrokes: Interior Landscapes, Earthy Impressions

The Seattle Times
December 1, 1991
By Alex Tizon

Russell Chatham has been in Seattle two days when the dozen red roses arrive at the print shop. He is in town to finish two new lithographs, spending most of his time at the shop, which is wedged like a weed between Joe’s Cafe and a scrap-metal yard on Harbor Island. Enclosed with the flowers is a note that reads simply, “We’re thinking of you, S.R. & P.”

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Home Away From Home: Jonathan Raban moves to Seattle

The Seattle Times
May 26, 1991
By Alex Tizon

JONATHAN RABAN — author, traveler, fancier of bridges ­— eases his 32-foot tubby sloop down the dark green waters of the Lake Washington ship canal. Just ahead, looming like a broken piece of property, is the Fremont Bridge, its two halves raised to make way for the sailboat’s mast, and exposing its machine-works underbelly for Raban to peruse as he passes.

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