Mountain Writers Series



Celebrating 45 years of serving the literary community --

In March 2019, Mountain Writers Series will host an off-site event, free and open to the public, during the annual AWP Conference in Portland Oregon. This event will celebrate 45 years of programming and serving the literary community in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Scheduled Thursday, March 28, 2019, from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM at the Hotel Rose in downtown Portland, dozens of Mountain Writers Series' alumni poets and writers will pay tribute to a long list of those no longer with us and present as well some of their own work; they are listed below. Others will be listed, along with a complete schedule of times of presentations, as they are confirmed.


Poet/Writer paying tribute to:

Judith Barrington

Maxine Kumin

Jonah Bornstein

Galway Kinnell

John Brehm

Robin Cody

Donald Justice

Peter Sears

Gerald Costanzo

Michael Dickman

Denis Johnson

Denis Johnson

Barbara Drake

Ursula LeGuin

Jennifer Grotz

Anita Helle

Christopher Howell

Cindy Lee Johnson

Elinor Langer

Tony Hoagland

Peter Sears

Peter Sears

Denis Johnson

Katherine Dunn

Doug Marx

Christopher Merrill

Czeslaw Milosz

Denis Johnson

Joseph Millar

Lee Montgomery

Jack Gilbert

Denis Johnson

Paulann Petersen

Denise Levertov & Lucille Clifton

Carlos Reyes

Robert Duncan

Michael Robins

James Tate

Runciman, Lex

Richard Hugo & Madeline DeFrees

Maxine Scates

Lucia Perillo

Jim Shugrue

Vern Rutsala

Clemens Starck

Louis Simpson

Lisa Steinman

Carolyn Kizer

Gary Thompson

Sandra Williams

Tom Crawford & Quinton Duval

Donald Hall

Patty Wixon

Derek Walcott

Vince Wixon

C. K. Williams


Celebrating 45 Years of Mountain Writers Series - Thursday, March 28, 2019

11 AM - 12 PM Tribute to Peter Sears, Oregon's Fifth Poet Laureate, with presentations by Robin Cody, Anita Helle, Christopher Howell, and others.

4 PM - 5 PM Tribute to Denis Johnson with Gerald Costanzo, Michael Dickman, Cindy Lee Johnson, Christopher Merrill and Lee Montgomery.

Glen Moore will perform on bass with select authors throughout the day.

The full schedule with times of presentations will be published on this web site before the event.



In October 2010, Oregon Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen, gave the following opening remarks as introduction to the events on the Mountain Writers Series stages for Wordstock 2010. 

Remarks at the Opening of Wordstock, 2010

It’s a delight and an honor to help launch the Mountain Writers’ readings at Wordstock 2010. Two stages. Two days. Sixty writers. Remarkable.

Mountain Writers has been a fixture at Wordstock since its inception. Over 300 writers have appeared on the Wordstock Mountain Writers stages since 2005, and Mountain Writers has been the force establishing and sustaining poetry’s presence at this festival. For that, I give particular thanks to the entire Mountain Writers’ board of directors and staff.

Orchestrating over 60 writers on two stages for two days is a formidable undertaking. But it’s only one of Mountain Writers’ ongoing programs. Mountain Writers sponsors the monthly Press Club readings on Clinton Street in Southeast Portland. Third Wednesdays. Mountain Writers offers the bi-annual Columbia Gorge Writers’ Conference, which—in June of 2011—will feature on its faculty Annick Smith, William Kittredge, Barbara Drake, Vern Rutsala, and Gerald Costanza. And that’s only what MW is doing currently.

Established in 1973, Mountain Writers has spent 37 years enriching our region with visits, readings, and workshops by many of the world’s finest writers. The list of writers who have given readings and workshops and talks under the aegis of Mountain Writers and its partners includes W.S. Merwin, Rita Dove, Sherman Alexie, Lucille Clifton, Czeslaw Milosz, Jamaica Kincaid, Charles Simic, and Derek Walcott. The whole list is hundreds of names long.

I took workshops led by Sharon Olds, Martin Espada, and Carolyn Forché, thanks to Mountain Writers. I heard C. K. Williams, Eavan Boland, Jane Hirschfield, and Galway Kinnell give readings, thanks to Mountain Writers. My West Linn High School creative writing students had workshops led by Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, Agha Shahid Ali, and Cornelius Eady, thanks to Mountain Writers.

For decades, through its Northwest Regional Residencies Program, Mountain Writers toured stellar writers through Oregon and Washington. For years, Mountain Writers opened the doors of its Center (on Milwaukie Boulevard, in Portland), inviting the public to readings, workshops and gatherings.

Am I listing all of MW accomplishments? No. I’ve mentioned only a fraction of them. The 37 years of Mountain Writers’ existence hold a remarkable variety and number of programs. But there is one constant in the Mountain Writers’ story. 

Sandra Williams.

Sandra founded Mountain Writers in 1973. She’s been, all along, its sustaining force, its guiding vision. What our community of readers and writers owes to Sandra Williams is immeasurable. Offering Sandra our praise and gratitude today is a pleasure.

                                                                                               —Paulann Petersen


Link to Donation RequestConsider Mountain Writers Series for Charitable Giving

Please consider Mountain Writers Series for a tax-deductible contribution. We appreciate whatever gift you can make.


In Memoriam

Agha Shahid Ali 1949 - 2001

Lois Baker 1928 - 2016

Jack Cady 1932 - 2004

Hayden Carruth 1921 - 2008

Lucille Clifton 1936 - 2010

Tom Crawford 1939 - 2018

Madeline DeFrees 1919 - 2015

Brian Doyle 1957 - 2017

Robert Duncan 1919 - 1988

Katherine Dunn 1945 - 2016

William Everson 1912 - 1994

James Fleming 1924 - 2017

Marilyn Folkestad 1927 - 2002

Kathleen Fraser 1935-2019

Jane Glazer 1925 - 2017

Patricia Goedicke 1931 - 2006

Thom Gunn 1929 - 2003

Donald Hall 1928 - 2018

Kenneth O. Hanson 1922 - 2003

Ehud Havazelet 1955 - 2015

Geoffrey Hill 1932 - 2016

Tony Hoagland 1953 - 2018

Richard Hugo 1923 - 1982

Denis Johnson 1949 - 2017

Donald Justice 1925 - 2004

Galway Kinnell 1927 - 2014

Carolyn Kizer 1925 - 2014

Bill Knott 1940 - 2014

Maxine Kumin 1925 - 2014

Ursula K. Le Guin 1929 - 2018

Philip Levine 1928 - 2015

Morton Marcus 1936- 2009

Vaughn Marlowe 1931 - 2017

Irene McKinney 1939 - 2012

Czeslaw Milosz 1911 - 2004

Richard Murphy 1927 - 2018

Raymond Petterson 1929 - 2001

Walter Pavlich 1955 - 2002

Lucia Perillo 1958 - 2016

Vern Rutsala 1934 - 2014

Jon Silkin 1930 - 1997

William Stafford 1914 - 1993

Mark Strand 1934 - 2014

James Tate 1943 - 2015

Derek Walcott 1930 - 2017

James Welch 1940 - 2003

C. K. Williams 1936 - 2015



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