From P-Town: Finding Something True

1. Crowd shot! During the reading. 2. Michael Dickman reading. 3. Jon Boisvert, local poet and former student of Schomberg.

Michael Dickman and Zachary Schomberg transformed a space between book shelves at the Hawthorne Powell’s into a place where people tucked around corners and appeared comfortable in folding chairs. These old friends, neighbors, family, fans, curious shoppers and poetry supporters created a very well-rounded crowd reminiscent of a block party, minus the kids.

I can confirm there was no reading at the Burnside Powell’s because I went there first and missed Schomberg’s reading. I did, however, find a five dollar bill as I ran back to my car in three-inch wedges, and managed to drive cross-town in less than ten minutes.

Everyone with a roommate and a porch seemed to be drinking on their porches as I ran down 37th street towards the Hawthorne Powell’s. The Captured by Porches beer cart speaks to the difficulties of the young and restless inhabitants of the Southeast side, who are mostly immune to fluctuating gas prices and tend to negotiate most necessities based on proximity. Food carts continue to blanket the area like a game of Risk.

It was peeking-around-corners room only when I arrived mid-poem at Powell’s Luckily, I stood next to Jon Boisvert, a local poet, who was kind enough to explain that the Dickman and Schomberg reading was more of a double-header than an opener-main act situation. I thanked him for the additional guilt. Boisvert told me Schomberg read from his book, Scary, No Scary, and that he also co-curates the Bad Blood Reading Series in Southeast Portland.

I did see Dickman read from Flies and close the night with a new nature poem, “Honey Bee.” His reading was as jubilant, but slightly less triumphant in tone than his twin brother, Matthew Dickman, who described his brother as a brilliant, handsome genius when I snapped his picture in the Young Adult section.

1. Michael Dickman and Zachary Schomburg. 2. Matthew Dickman, local poet and Tin House staff member.

Michael Dickman encouraged everyone to buy a book of poetry, any book of poetry. I bought and read Schomberg’s book as homework. which helped me think of a way to approximate how it felt to attend this reading:
Find something true, dark or lovely, and describe it to someone perfectly, according to your own perspective.

This is my theory on why Schomberg and Dickman can explore darkness within their poetry while exuding lightness in their lives.

It was not fun to leave. Dickman and Schomberg bring out the kind of crowd that makes you wish for an after-party.

1. Crowd shot! After the reading. 2. Tracy and Sue came to hang-out and support local poets.


— Judith Ossello currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Find her at

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