Spring Reading at St. John’s Booksellers

You are invited to join us for a spring reading at St. John’s Booksellers!

When: Thursday, April 16th

7:30 p.m.

Where: St. John’s Booksellers

8622 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR 97203

What: Six of our contributing writers will read from Winged: New Writing on Bees, in celebration of the beauty, mystery, and absolute necessity of honeybees and other pollinators. Kick off the start of spring by connecting with people who care about great writing and the continued health of our human relationship with pollinators.

Following the reading, we’ll offer a free tasting of mead and honey from Bee Thinking.

Enjoy an evening of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, then pick up a signed copy of Winged— all proceeds benefit pollinator education and conservation organizations. So far, we’ve donated $2,000 to the Xerces Society and Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary. Be part of the giving! Your purchase goes toward our spring contribution to Bees for Development, which provides training, information and advice to people in 122 different countries, helping them meet their basics needs through beekeeping. Read more about their important work here

About the Readers:

Berger_KristinKristin Berger is the author of a poetry chapbook For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and former editor at VoiceCatcher. She has been awarded Writers Residencies at The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and at Playa, Summer Lake, Oregon. Recent poetry and non-fiction has appeared in, or is forthcoming, in Camas, Cirque, Forest Log (Spring Creek Project), and North Dakota Quarterly.


Guzman Dena Rash

Dena Rash Guzman is the author of Life Cycle—Poems (Dog On A Chain Press 2013.) A chapbook is forthcoming from Reprobate/Gobshite Quarterly Press in summer 2015. Her work can be found online and in print at The Poetry FoundationThe RumpusThe Nervous BreakdownLuna Luna Magazine, Ink Node and elsewhere. She has had her poems anthologized several times, including by publishers in the People’s Republic of China where she has performed her work for thousands. She is a beekeeper and lives in Oregon.


Marshall SarahSarah Marshall grew up in Oregon, earned her MFA at PSU, and continues to write and teach in the area. Her essays have most recently appeared in The Believer, The New Republic, and Lapham’s Quarterly, and she is at work on a book about female victimhood narratives in American culture.




Otto LynnLynn Otto is a writer in residence at George Fox University, Newberg, OR. Her work has appeared in Raleigh Review, Plain Spoke, Triggerfish Critical Review, Strong Verse, and Centrifugal Eye.




_SLC9295Melissa Reeser Poulin (Co-editor) teaches English and creative writing in many settings, working with the elderly, high school students, and adult English language learners. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she was a 2014 Pushcart nominee. She lives with her husband, a metal artist and blacksmith, in Portland, Oregon.


jillkeepingJill McKenna Reed (Co-editor) is a poet, writing instructor, and beekeeper in Portland, Oregon. She is co-owner of Bee Thinking, a beekeeping supplier specializing in foundationless hives. When she is not writing or teaching, she can be found catching swarms or helping new beekeepers around the Portland area. Jill earned her MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry, at Portland State University.

About St John’s:

St. Johns Booksellers is a family-owned neighborhood bookstore located in the historic heart of North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood, offering new, used, and remaindered books in a wide range of subject areas. Store co-owner Nena Rawdah is a bookseller with 14 years of experience in all areas of the book trade.  Partner (and husband) Adam Robins is a construction consultant and history geek.  They opened the store with another partner in June 2005, on a shoestring budget consisting of a pinch of cash, a microloan from Mercy Corps, and a whole lot of sweat equity.  On the day they opened, they had fewer than 2000 books on hand.  They now offer an ever-growing inventory of over 13,000 titles that changes daily.


Making Winged: Our Visual Artists

We’re grateful for the many people who worked behind the scenes to bring Winged to life. This week, we feature short interviews with two of our visual artists, Charlotte Clement and Megan Newell. Here’s what they had to say about their interest in pollinators, their work as visual artists, and why they chose to join our team. Thanks, Charlotte and Megan!

Charlotte, 2012 Charlotte Clement
Cover Illustration

I’m an artist and beekeeper based in Portland, Oregon. I was born in Rhode Island and studied fine arts at Drew University. I became became involved with Winged through Jill McKenna Reed. I work with Jill at Bee Thinking. I am excited to be a part of Winged because I’d like to do whatever I can to help bees. I started working at Bee Thinking and became a beekeeper around the same time. I’ve spent the past year having long conversations about bees, their dire state, and the impact their state will have on all of us. Winged was a great opportunity to contribute to a cause I care for through a means that I am very familiar with: drawing.

Charlotte 1 Charlotte 2
Honeybees have in some way shifted my art and creativity. I am inspired by their comunity structure and architectural skill. I used to make a lot of vessels using latex and paper mache. My projects were quite similar to the aesthetics of a beehive.  In addition to managing Bee Thinking’s retail space, I also assist ceramic artist Kim Murton. These interests continue to inspire my art, which is recently focused on textural drawings of bees. I usually work in graphite and charcoal.
Apart from their environmental implications and communal living, I find the movement of the bee most interesting. I am fascinated by their ability to travel for so long on so little and how their wings are simultaneously invisible and luminescent. I tried to capture a moment of that speed and delicacy in my work with Winged.
I am available for commissions. You can reach me by email: cclement128@yahoo.com or phone: 401-556-1750
Megan Megan Newell
Web and Publicity Design
The opportunity to design for Winged is exactly the reason why I design–to support an issue I believe in by helping create the visual storyline. I also value the coming together of writers, poets, artists, photographers, readers, and bee lovers to create a piece that celebrates the beauty of life, and more particularly, one small and important creature. I want to help bring attention to declining honeybee populations, and I am honored to have been a part, although just a small part, of the creative response to this serious issue.
I feel my purpose as a designer is to make others’ lives a little lighter and brighter, even if for a moment. This often influences my work to be vivid, multi-colored, fun, layered, textured, and engaging. As someone who prefers to listen than to speak in conversations, a design becomes my voice to the ideas that form in my mind as I observe others’ passions, histories, issues, concerns, and humanity. I am available for projects and/or collaborations! You can reach me at megz.newell@gmail.com and view previous projects at www.megannewell.com.

Honeybees! Corvallis Event Recap

Corvallis ReadingFrom top left: editors Melissa Reeser Poulin & Jill McKenna Reed, contributor Lois Leveen; 2nd Row: contributor Adrienne Flagg, the Corvallis audience, OSU Honey Bee Lab research assistant Ashrafun Nessa; 3rd row: contributor Kristin Berger, contributor Sarah Marshall, and contributor and event host Charles Goodrich, director of the Spring Creek Project at OSU. 

What an awesome night for honeybees! On November 14th, an energetic crowd joined us at the Corvallis library for a sampling of readings from Winged, a presentation from OSU’s Honey Bee Lab, and a viewing of an observation hive with 10,000 live honeybees. Honey-tasting and conversation followed.

We’re grateful to Carly Lettero and Charles Goodrich of the Spring Creek Project at OSU for hosting this dynamic event. The Spring Creek Project’s mission is “to bring together the practical wisdom of the environmental sciences, the clarity of philosophical analysis, and the creative, expressive power of the written word to find new ways to understand and re-imagine our relation to the natural world.” They do so through a wide range of events, programs, and projects. Check them out!

October 30 Book Launch Recap

Thanks to everyone who joined us to celebrate the book’s release! What an amazing night to honor pollinators and art. Thank you for turning out in numbers on the night before Halloween. We shared wine, food, books, and lively conversation about bees.

Best of all, we were treated to a wonderfully varied lineup of readings from Winged. For us editors, it was especially moving to hear these writers’ words come to life, after a year spent editing and organizing the contents from afar. We didn’t think it was possible to love the book and the writers more– and yet, we do!

Congratulations to everyone who has made this book possible. We share our joy and our gratitude with you. Here’s a selection of images from the evening, courtesy of Literary Arts.

A big thank you again to our sponsors: the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Literary Arts, Whole Foods Pearl District, and Sokol Blosser Winery. And be sure to join us with at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, November 14th, for a reading at the Corvallis Library in Corvallis, Oregon. Hosted by the Spring Creek Project at Oregon State University.


Perusing the book table before the reading

Event 4 A warm and attentive crowd

Event2Jill and Melissa welcoming the audience

Event 3Paulann Petersen kicks off the reading with “Wax” and “A Sacrament”

Event 8George Venn reading “Down the Colfax Grade”

Event 6Lois Leveen with an excerpt from her novel Juliet’s Nurse

Event 5John Beer with “Beekeeper”

Event 7Kate Gray gave a beautiful reading of “When the Dead Visit Dreams”

Event 9

Leni Zumas reads “Mellis Dentem”

Event 10Annette Fisch joined us all the way from New York to read from her novel-in-progress, “Uncontrollable”

Event 11Portland writer and performer Adrienne Flagg closed the night with “Free Bees”

Three Experts on Bees

We love this recent TED Blog interview with three experts on the relationship between humans and honey bees. The discussion features Marla Spivak, Dennis van Engelsdorp, and Noah Wilson-Rich. We especially like what Dennis had to say about the power of first-hand experience:


What does each of you wish the average person understood about bees? 

DV: Everyone owes it to themselves to open a colony of bees once. I think some people will realize they are not beekeepers, but I think that they’ll overcome a lot of fear and they’ll be awed. Other people will fall in love. I don’t know anyone who has opened a colony of bees on a sunny beautiful day, and seen all those worker bees toiling together in harmony, and not been awed. It’s awe-inspiring. The more you do that, the more you’re connected — not only with the bees, but with the environment around you. I wish everyone that experience.


For more awe-inspiring education on honey bees, watch the original TED Talk from entomologist and MacArthur Fellow Marla Spivak, whose research on breeding mite-resistant honey bees is especially fascinating.



Deadline Extended to March 15th

Dear friends,

Winged: New Writing on Bees has been awarded a grant from Oregon’s Regional Arts and Culture Council!

Due to this change, the timeline for Winged has altered. We are giving the project new scope, and extending the submission deadline to March 15th, 2014.

We are thrilled with, and humbled by, the submissions we have received so far. As a reminder, the submission window is currently open for poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and mixed-genre work. We will happily consider both new and previously-published work, as long as the author holds full rights to that work. Profits from book sales will benefit pollinator conservation organizations such as The Xerces Society.

  • Please share information about Winged with friends and colleagues, either through social media, in classes, or by downloading our press release and informational flyer. Spreading the word means so much to us, and so much  for the project.
  • Submit your work! We offer the following considerations to help generate topics or concepts: the honey bee in history, bee symbolism in art, the European honey bee and native pollinators in North America, honey in ancient civilizations, communication via dance, the sounds of and in the hive, personal bee encounters, the bee in sacred literature, humans as pollinators, beekeeping around the world, declining bee populations, the future of beekeeping, a survey of bees in speculative fiction…

Winged is a project with a broader purpose: to create a literary and artistic record of this perilous moment in the relationship between humans and bees. Writers have employed bees and bee imagery for thousands of years, and we are now watching these important muses and symbols ailing, and declining.

No book like Winged currently exists, and much like a colony of bees, we cannot accomplish our goals alone. Whether it is by spreading the word about Winged, attending one of our upcoming events, or submitting your work, we hope you will take this opportunity to help cultivate our growing project, one we believe in, and one we feel is vital for all.


Melissa Reeser Poulin and Jill McKenna Reed
Editors, Winged: New Writing on Bees

“Write to the future”

We really loved Kathleen Dean Moore and Scott Slovic’s recent blog post for Orion, “7 Ways to Write to the Future.”

It’s a call for writers to step into the urgency of the moment, by creating work that both addresses and is worthy of the gravity of global warming. The call to action echoes our own sentiments about the pollinator crisis.

They write:

“..there is essential work to be done also in our roles as academics and writers, empowered by creative imagination, moral clarity, and the strength of true witness. Write as if your reader were dying, Annie Dillard advised. “What would you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?” …Surely in a world dangerously slipping away, we need courageously and honestly to ask again the questions every author asks: Who is my audience—now, today, in this world? What is my purpose?

Moore and Slovic lay out seven possible forms this kind of writing might take, and make space for many more interpretations.

We’re energized by this brief, powerful editorial and excited to see how writers respond, in the pages of Orion and elsewhere. Write to the future. Use your artistic gifts to tell this generation and the next why pollinators matter.

MegNewellbeephoto: Meg Newell