Bend's Nature of Words In Reverse | Off Piste | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Bend's Nature of Words In Reverse 

Celebrating its fifth year, The Nature of Words' two nights of Tower Theater readings were a good indication that the event has come of age. Gone are the days of writers talking about sagebrush, distant mountain ranges, cattle and corrals that came with the High Desert Museum's sponsorship of the event. Here to stay is a variety of poetry, prose and some welcome surprises.

The surprises were the distinct breaks from the tried-and-true "author reads from his/her books" format.

The first presenter to stray from the tried and true presentation was Portland writer Karen Karbo. Yes Karbo read but also offered a PowerPoint presentation of images from her new book on the legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel.

For those who had seen either the 2008 American biopic film of Chanel's entire life or the 2009 French biopic film of her early years, Karbo covered familiar ground.

Even with that knowledge, Karbo helped fill in some blanks in the famed designers love life and did so with clever turns of phrase and drollery.

Humor was the underlying theme of the evening and poet ( Matthew Dickman rose to the occasion and immediately capturing the audience's attention with his off-hand self-effacing style. A style that gave way as he read to brilliant insights and a crackling wit.

It was as if Dickman had taken the best of Beat poetry a la Lawrence Ferlingetti, and enlarged upon and brought to new life to it. He did so with gusto and with imagery that stuck in the mind. Images like, when describing a lover: "her ass was like a shopping mall at Christmas."

Third on stage last Thursday night at The Tower was wildly popular Native American writer Sherman Alexie.

From the rousing rock star ovation Alexie received as he walked on stage it was obvious he had drawn a large number young fans to the event.

He didn't disappoint them as he set out to do something very different for The Nature of Words delivering a classic stand-up monologue. A monologue that could have been entitled "Unexpurgated Sherman Alexie or "Sherman Alexie Revealed"

Through wit and stinging commentary, Alexie described his tortuous road from infancy fraught with medical woes to his discovery of his path in life.

It was a boffo performance that on one hand with tinges of Richard Pryor's self-exploratory humor mixed with the sharp political insight of a Dick Gregory. It was very different for The Nature of Words and a transitory moment for an event that, for some, was flirting with getting bogged by its predictable format.

Friday night's readings were predictable in part but luckily there was some continuation of the event's new direction with two diverse opening readings.

The first reading was by author Seth Kanter

( who expressed privately before stepping on stage his anxieties of being in a city and far away from the vastness of his Alaska wilderness home.

Rather than put the audience off, Kanter's obvious unease won them over as he warmed to his task at hand embellishing his tales with superb photographic images of the land that is at the heart of his work,

Following Kanter, pixyish-looking Belarusian poetess Valzhyna Mort

began her reading with a poem her native tongue. It wasn't necessary to know what the words meant as Mort's intense delivery made them universal in feel and tone.

Her work has been described as searing. That it is with clean piercing images balanced with those that cut straight to the heart of emotion.

Cutting straight to the heart of the five unique readings, The Nature Of Words turned a corner, entered a new lifecycle. A cycle in which the event appears to be reaching out to a broader, albeit younger, audience and moving into more approachable, and at the same time, more daring, territory.

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Live at the Vineyard: Heller Highwater Band

Live at the Vineyard: Heller Highwater Band - Faith Hope & Charity Vineyards

Thu., June 30, 5-8 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Off Piste

  • Can't Wait for the Face-Kini Trend to Hit Bend

    • Aug 20, 2012
      More reasons to slap one of these on, according to The Indian Express is they are,"also extremely effective at repelling insects and jellyfish." Read about even racier Face-Kinis here: http://inventorspot. More »
  • A New Way to Protect That Gorgeous Mug of Yours

    • Aug 20, 2012
    Sick of the claustrophobic greasy cloud of sunscreen, fellow sun bunnies?  It drips into your eyes if you're active and sweating and sometimes has a pasty white sheen, but in Bend sun protection is mandatory.   The other problem is the way it makes you feel like you're being buried alive. More »
  • Bust a Love Move Today

    • Aug 9, 2012
    Long before Gay A. Bradshaw (one of Oregon’s own) put a name on them, trans-species relationships have continued to baffle, challenge, and warm the hearts of non-human animals and humanimals alike. More »
  • More »

More by The Source Staff

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2022 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation