Saturday night we celebrated the opening of the 2009 Centrum literary season with a reading by Bill Ransom, the novelist, poet, and founder of the Port Townsend Writers' Conference in 1973.
Ransom read from his newest book of poems, "The Woman and the War Baby," a circular journey of poems from the Pacific Northwest to Central America and back to the Pacific Northwest.
The reading took place in the legendary Schoolhouse Building, which for the past 37 years has been the site of workshops, readings, lectures, and informal gatherings by such writers as William Stafford, Ken Kesey, Raymond Carver, James Welch, Alice Walker, Leslie Silko, Terry Tempest Williams, Rebecca Brown, and many, many others–including Ransom himself, who spoke afterwards about the history of the Conference and the excitement of the future.
The year 2009, in fact, begins a new look at Centrum–instead of "just" the July 12-19 Port Townsend Writers' Conference, 2009 opens a year-round slate of events, starting with the May 7-10 Literature of Witness event with Carolyn Forché and finishing with the September 17-20 Jazz and the Word event in September.
Meanwhile, registration continues apace. Carolyn's May workshop is nearly full. For the summer Conference, the Kim Barnes and Bob Wrigley workshops are sold out, with Chris Abani and Mark Doty each only having one space left.
Registration is available here, as well as by calling the Centrum Registrar at 360.385.3102, x114.