Poets Take on the Presidents


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Air date: 
Mon, 02/17/2020 - 10:00pm to 11:00pm
Harold Johnson
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Leanne Grabel

Unique takes on US Presidents by poet and artists Harold Johnson and Leanne Grabel. Harold’s new book presents thumbnail placards for each President’s portrait in the National Gallery as if a slave or black man was writing it- a mugshot of words and actions. Leanne picks up where Harold leaves off with a hilarious, rollicking musical rant about Trump:

The Battle of Outrage Vs. Ophelia”-- #fakeChristian, #ostentatious corruption, #zombie apocalypse.


Harold Johnson was born and grew up in Yakima, Washington. He moved to Portland after high school and remained there except for a stint as a trumpeter in the U.S. Army. He earned Degrees in English and art from University of Portland and Portland State University. His publications include the volumes Citizenship (Many Voices Press), Article.II. The Gallery (Many Voices Press), and two chapbooks. He has been a USA-Africa Fellow of The Ragdale Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois. For two years, he worked as an editor of Fireweed: Poetry of Western Oregon.  His poems have been included in the anthologies From Here We Speak (Oregon State University Press), Millenial Spring (Cloudbank Books), Beyond the Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century (Black Classic Press), and New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press), among others. A lover of jazz, since retirement Harold has devoted himself to music, reading and writing. He is married to the artist-poet Anne Griffin, and they have one son.

Leanne Grabel, M.Ed., is a writer, illustrator, performer & retired special education teacher. Currently, Grabel is teaching graphic flash memoir to adults in arts centers and retirement communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. In love with mixing genres, Grabel has written & produced numerous spoken-word multi-media shows, including “The Lighter Side of Chronic Depression”; and “Anger: The Musical.” Her poetry books include Lonesome & Very Quarrelsome Heroes; Short Poems by a Short Person; Badgirls (a collection of flash non-fiction & a theater piece); & Gold Shoes, a collection of graphic prose poems. Grabel has just completed Tainted Illustrated, an illustrated stretched memoir, which is being serialized in THE OPIATE and HUSBAND, a collection of graphic flash memoir. She and her husband Steve Sander are the founders of Café Lena, Portland’s legendary poetry hub of the 90s. Grabel will be the 2020 recipient of the Bread and Roses Award for contributions to women's literature in the Pacific Northwest.


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