Community Engagement

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I have had the joy of being involved with almost every aspect of Literary Arts. In addition to serving on the Writers in the Schools (WITS) Advisory Council, I have taught poetry residencies in Portland high schools for six years through the WITS program. I have also facilitated adult seminars on poets William Stafford and Martín Espada through the Delve Seminar program. I was honored to receive the inaugural Oregon Literary Fellowship for Writers of Color in 2016 and the 2017 Oregon Book Award for Drama. Literary Arts produced my play, Words That Burn, at the Linkville Playhouse in Klamath Falls, Oregon in 2017 and as part of The Archive Project on OPB in 2018.

 

 

Literary Arts' mission is: to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature. Learn more here.

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Milagro has been my artistic home since I arrived in Oregon in 2001. In addition to serving as Board Chair, I founded Milagro's performance poetry series, ¡Viva la Word!, and produced four shows dramatizing poetry, story, and music. A staged reading of my play, A Dialogue of Flower & Song, was produced at Milagro as part of the 2012 GEMELA (Spanish and Latin American Women's Studies, pre-1800) Conference. In 2014, my play Words That Burn premiered at Milagro in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the William Stafford Centennial, and the 70th anniversary of the rescindment of Executive Order 9066 interning Japanese-Americans.

Milagro's mission is: to provide extraordinary Latino theatre, culture, and arts education experiences for the enrichment of all communities. Learn more here.

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Soon after my husband and I began sojourning in the gorgeous Methow Valley, I taught my first poetry residency through Methow Arts. It was called "Make Me Care," an inter-disciplinary English and science project at a restored salmon habitat. This year I will teach poetry as part of the "Beyond the Frame: To Be Native" project which explores Native identity, race and resilience, and art and culture by taking a new look at the photographs of Edward S. Curtis. I also serve as a member of the Stafford River Poems Committee whose purpose is to inscribe more of William Stafford's Methow River  poems on plaques throughout the Valley.

Methow Arts' mission is: to enrich the lives of the people living in rural Okanogan county by making the Arts an integral, dynamic aspect of community, economic vitality, public education and civic life. Learn more here.

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William Stafford has inspired me since the spring of 2000 when I bought all six copies of Methow River Poems at Trail's End Bookstore in Winthrop, Washington to give to the witnesses at my wedding that autumn. Seventeen years later, I founded the annual William Stafford Birthday Reading at Trail's End Bookstore in the heart of the Methow Valley. In 2011, I also founded this reading series featuring Los Porteños at Milagro. In 2009, I co-produced “Oregon Poets, Oregon History: A Reflection on Social Justice in World War II” with the Beaverton City Library. Featuring Oregon Poet Laureate Emeritus Lawson Inada and Stafford archivist Paul Merchant, the reading commemorated William Stafford’s life as a conscientious objector as well as the internment experiences of the Yasui family relayed in Lauren Kessler's Stubborn Twig, the book chosen for Oregon Reads. 

 

To commemorate the William Stafford Centennial, I wrote Words That Burn, which premiered at Milagro in 2014. Through a blend of poetry and prose, the play dramatizes the WWII experiences of William Stafford, Lawson Inada, and Guy Gabaldón in their own words. The Friends of William Stafford generously co-sponsored the Portland premiere and sponsored the 2016 student matinee at the Merc Playhouse in Twisp, Washington. In 2014, I also taught a Delve Seminar on William Stafford’s work at Literary Arts. I currently serve as a member of the Stafford River Poems Committee whose purpose is to install more plaques with William Stafford's Methow River poems throughout the Valley.

The Friends' of William Stafford's mission is: to honor Wiliam Stafford's life and legacy and to engage and encourage new and emerging writers in the spirit of William Stafford. Learn more here.

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Design: Ivonne Saed

I am proud to be one of the cofounders of Los Porteños, Portland's Latino writers' collective, along with Joann Farias, Emma Oliver, and Olga Sanchez. A multilingual, cross-genre community of writers with a shared heritage, we celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2016 with readings at Milagro and Literary Arts.

 

Founded in 2006 with the steadfast support of Milagro Theatre, we have presented annual literary readings for Day of the Dead and William Stafford’s birthday. In 2014, Los Porteños produced Words That Burn at Milagro in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the William Stafford Centennial, and the rescindment of Japanese-American internment.

Los Porteños' mission is: to make Latino and Latin American literature an integral part of the Portland community; to raise our voices and raise awareness of our diverse languages, canons, stories and cultures; and to develop and nurture each unique voice into a collective of writers honoring this diverse heritage. Learn more here.

© 2019 CINDY WILLIAMS GUTIÉRREZ

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