Since Write Around Portland began in 1999, we have published 60 professionally designed and printed books of workshop writing. Each time a book is published, participants who submitted get a free copy. We also distribute copies to local booksellers (such as Powell’s and Broadway Books), and we place recent copies on the website for purchase.
Finally, we designate at least one copy as the “office copy,” and place it on the shelf next to its predecessor. This is the Anthology Archive.
From time to time, a past workshop participant will reach out looking for their piece and the anthology it was published in. It is common for them to be unsure of the exact year or title, but they almost always remember where their workshop was held. This allows us to look up the exact workshop – and the related anthology – in our database.
We recently received a call from a former participant, Madaline, with a particularly special circumstance. When Madaline met her partner, Jordan, a few years ago, they discovered that they had both been part of Write Around Portland workshops – four years apart! She had taken a workshop at Helensview High School in 2009, and Jordan had taken it during his time at Multnomah County Inverness Jail in 2013.
“[Write Around Portland] gave me so much light during an incredibly difficult phase of my life,” Madaline told us in a recent conversation. “It gave me so much hope and happiness.”
When the two first met, they talked about common interests and writing came up. Jordan shared that he had a poem published in a Write Around Portland workshop and Madaline couldn’t believe it! “I was so stoked to hear that this adorable, fun, witty guy had shared such a RARE, special, life-learning experience in the same amazing, unique way!”
With their names and workshop locations, staff was able to pinpoint the titles both had been published in and look through the archives to confirm. We had extra copies of Concrete/Contreto, the book Jordon was published in Summer 2013. Madaline’s piece was published in our 10th anniversary edition, North of North, which was released in Spring 2009 and unfortunately is out of print. Since we had an office copy in the archive, however, we were able to make a photocopy of her poem, “Freedom”, and mail that to her as well.
Madaline surprised Jordan with both the copy of her piece and the anthology he was published in. “We were both so excited to get to read our poems to each other,” she says. “We’ve talked about them for months, so when we finally were able to share that connection up close and personal it meant so much to us.”
Our reverence never diminishes for the workshop space, the vulnerability shown there, and the words captured in our books. In our archives live the stories, memories, and dreams of people who have often been told their voices are less than. Our anthology archives are a preservation of both their writing and our values of respect, writing, and community.
Anthologies are available for purchase on our website. If you are looking for a past anthology, please reach out to our staff at 503-796-9224.