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Review For “Her Animal Inheritance” Poetry Chapbook

By: Julia Laxer

Our bodies learn through pain and pleasure, and our lives of measured risks leave their mark upon us through the scarring imprint of memory. We wear our scars like these poems wear their words. “Her Animal Inheritance” is a collaboration of poems by Tai Woodville, Alissa Hattman, and Sara Jackson-Holman. The manuscript is formed of their alternating voices, woven like intimacies; shared by women in a sacred spiritual circle. These poems take turns as they speak, question, honor, and validate each other. These poems listen. In this purposeful intimacy, bodies shed sentimentality; bones are left— truths; just meat and muscle. While showing themselves in this way, the poets are aware of their judgements, and they are aware of their losses. It is not easy to be this vulnerable.

Expressions of desire and dreams live and thrive across the deep ravines of regret and grief. While the collection does occasionally edge towards the nefarious edges of the unknown, it does not let go completely… Just when depression is about to give in; just when the sullenness sticks around— too long— like a long Portland winter, the July sun appears… And, like an altar on the hearth of a wise woman’s home, these poems hold space for spirit.

Poems dive, seeking answers to questions not yet asked. There are meditations of the past, symbolized through the archetypal language of dreams. And in these symbolic reflections, beyond the surface, there is spiritual light. It comes like a miracle. Hits you like traffic. It will prickle the stiffest hairs on the body of a nonbeliever with the crystalline-electric shock of wonder. Our bodies tell the time, tell the story— whether we like it or not… Some things you can not help but feel, can’t forget, no matter how… This collection is an imprint of the experience of three women. Truths. Three women’s voices— these poems are her body. They are her story. They change with the tides, with the seasons, and with her environment. When she is supported, she will flourish. When she is lifted, she will soar. Open these pages to see the full moon… You may howl wildly in recognition.


“Her Animal Inheritance” will be available for purchase on & after August 17th 2017 at Portland’s Mother Foucault’s.  There will be a reading of the collection at 7 pm. 523 SE Morrison.


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Gull’s Eye View

by Kate Woodville


For a long time

I saw myself washed up

on the beach,

tangled in driftwood,

bare branches

and Coca-Cola bottles,

rusty cans, face down,

spread-eagled in the hot sand,

lulled by the soft slap of the water,

ripped through the belly

by the swooping shrieking gulls.


“Kafka-esque,” he said,

taking my hand,

leading me up the California

carpeted stairs

into the dusty bare sea view room.


Papers, everywhere.

“My filing system,”

he said, pulling me smoothly,

no resistance, into the narrow hall.

Past a bathroom door,

half open, dirty floor,

past a room with mirrors,

barbells, weights, exercise machines,

into the bedroom, unmade bed,

patched with patterns of dark blood.


I thought, fascinated.

“Cut my foot on the beach,” he said.

I did not believe him.



I wanted to join the old drunk men

who lie asleep, clutching their bundles

in the sun.


* * *


Kate Woodville was a film and television actress for many years, obtaining cult status for her role as Queen Natira on Star Trek’s classic “For The World Is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky.” A member of the Actor’s Studio, she studied under Lee Strasberg. These days she spends her time writing, painting, riding and playing with her dogs. She lives in the outskirts of Portland, OR, making mischief on all fronts.



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by Barry Spacks

Let’s admire the homesettlers,
how they floss twice daily,
live happily ever after.

And speaking of those to admire
there’s only one dazzled guy in my class
with 13 high-hearted maidens.

Is it okay to love the ardent young?
rapt girl with missing fur cuff on one sleeve,

Roshi’s answer:

“love, and do no harm.”
“In fact, do good.”

How foolish it seems, much of life,
scatter-brained or brainless…
how precious, acts of sweetness.


* * *


Barry Spacks is the First Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, California. The author of nine poetry collections (most extensive: SPACKS STREET: NEW & SELECTED POEMS,) with poems in 18 anthologies, he is the winner of The Commonwealth Club of California’s Poetry Medal, the Cherry Grove Collections Prize and St. Botolph’s Arts Award. A man of many hats, he is also a singer-songwriter, actor and Literature professor, plus the Senior Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) student of H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. For more details, and to follow his blog, Poetry Matters, go to www.barryspacks.net


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