The Axe & Fiddle, a pub in historic downtown Cottage Grove, offers a change of pace this coming Tuesday night, May 17, when the entertainment turns to words. Poetry Night happens just once a month at this restaurant and public house known for its live music and craft brews, full bar, and locally sourced food, and I’m delighted to be their featured guest. But I won’t be reading poetry–or singing it.
Instead they have asked me to read from my new historical novel about Oregon’s early days, The Shifting Winds. So in keeping with the night’s theme, I’ll select a couple of short excerpts that present a bit of what might be called poetic prose.
You’ll find the Axe & Fiddle on Cottage Grove’s historic Main Street on the corner of 7th and Main, next door to Kalapuya Books, the bookstore that presents Poetry Night. The building is shown at right.
The show starts at 7:30 pm and is expected to run until 9:30. They open at 4 pm, so there’s plenty of time to stop in beforehand for dinner or a drink, or both, and the doors are open Tuesdays until midnight.
So what’s poetic prose? To me, it seems to show up in description that paints a scene with a touch of velvet in the words. I’ll read one of those at the event. Then it may be a stretch of the word poetic, but I’d also like to read a segment I’ve never tried for any of my other readings.
In this book, although my lead characters are fictional, I also have some real people meandering through the pages. It’s a story with a lot of real history and those people sometimes play their factual parts in the historic scenes.
One of my more colorful real characters is mountain man Joe Meek, and the book includes half a dozen or so stories that Joe actually told to 19th century author Frances Fuller Victor for her 1870 book River of the West about Joe’s life as a fur trapper in the Rockies and his life in western Oregon as a settler. Joe’s speech is a mix of Kentucky, the vernacular of a mountain man, and traces that come from a boy who preferred to play with his father’s slaves rather than go to school. Poetic? Well, he was an inveterate storyteller whose words carry a certain ring.
I’m looking forward to a fun evening at the Axe & Fiddle, a very different venue than I’ve tried before. I’ll have books there for sale, copies of The Shifting Winds and also my previous book, A Place of Her Own. A big thanks to Betsy at Kalapuya Books for the invite.