Dear Governor Ducey,
It is festival season in Flagstaff. Two Saturdays ago, at the same time as the Hopi Festival, the Festival of Science began in Wheeler Park. I met a falcon owned by the woman who manages Jay’s Bird Barn and talked to an avalanche expert. Max and Zoe won sunflower seeds by spinning a wheel, made bracelets with beads that indicated when to reapply sunscreen, and made parachutes to catch good air. Last Saturday was Oktoberfest and weekend two of the Festival of Science. We did as much science as possible with Max and Zoe at the new Science and Health building with its Hogwarts’ staircases that look down upon the Liberal Arts building. You can see my office which I chose for the light that came through my windows before Science and Health construction began. Still, to be shadowed by Hogwarts is not the end of the world.
At the Science Fest we saw a scorpion that bio luminesced under a black light. We learned that people with cats have less staphylococcus bacteria on their skin. Max and Zoe got Smarties for answering questions about heart ventricles. We saw a stuffed peregrine falcon and a long eared owl and took some wildflower seeds home for our garden.
When we first moved to Flagstaff, we went to an Oktoberfest out at the Nordic Center. There were pumpkins and a straw bale maze but no beer, which confused us, so we went home. This year, we didn’t make it to Oktoberfest because Stacy Murison, Lawrence Lenhart, colleagues of mine at NAU, and Kate Harkins, Blake Carrera, students in the MFA program, typed poems On Demand at Full Circle Thrift Store while Aly Jay played her beautiful guitar and sang her beautiful voice.
Here’s two poems by us, The Poetry On Demand Team:
cloud/ a pull of snow/ o thin you can only dream about touching it/ you can fly through them.
And, Finding a fan: It was a breezeless day. What can you do in Phoenix in/July? Wait? No No No. /Go Get the wind.
Instead of drinking beer, we typed in the first event of the Northern Arizona Book Festival, which officially begins next week. Jesse Sensibar and James Jay have put together an amazing schedule of events. The whole schedule can be found at http://www.nazbookfest.org/wp/schedule-2/but here are a few highlights:
Monday, October 10th, 7–8 p.m. Narrow Chimney Reading with Michaela Carter, Ann Cummins, Susan Lang, Mary Sojourner at Uptown Pubhouse followed by Northern Arizona Playwriting Showcase at the Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse from 8–9:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, 5:30-7 p.m. Flag Live’s Letter from Home columnists read from their latest works at Uptown. Then, at 7:30 p.m. Gary Every and Lawrence Lenhart read at Barefoot Cowgirl.
On Thursday, from 7-9 p.m. I, with William Trowbridge, Erin Stalcup, Diana Gabaldon read at the Coconino Center for the Arts.
On Friday, Oct. 14 from 7–10 p.m. Jim Harrison Tribute with Pamela Uschuk, William Pitt Root, Doug Peacock at the Orpheum Theater
On Saturday, Oct. 15, from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Getting Published Workshop at Barefoot Cowgirl. At the downtown library, the Book Fest offers a slate of young readers’ events from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. At 1:30–3 p.m. Simmerman Book Release Reading with William Trowbridge, Ann Cummins, James Jay, Miles Waggener, and Sean Carswell at Uptown.
Saturday night, at 7:00, it’s “Return of the Writers” with NAU English Department alumni Sean Carswell, T. Greenwood and Miles Waggener return to read from their latest books at Uptown.
On Sun, Oct. 16 from 1:00 to 2:00, the Waxwing reading with Matt Bell and Dexter L. Booth at Firecreek Coffee Co will be followed by 2–3 p.m. Thin Air reading then from 3–4 p.m, is Indigenous Authors Reading with Jennifer Foerster, Tom Holm, Simon Ortiz, and Orlando White.
The final event that Sunday is the book festival board reading with James Jay, Stacy Murison, Jesse Sensibar, John Quinonez, Andrew Wisniewski, and Ian Kersey where I promise to read all 100 of my Letters to Ducey (Not really. Really I will read poems On Demand. No need to torture my kind friends although if you come, Governor Ducey, I will read a letter to you).
This is just a sampling of the events but you can see this is going to be a festival that will soar as high as the peregrine falcon, catch as much wind as a Max-built parachute, will make your heart ventricles pump enough blood to warrant a bucketful of Smarties. Come up from Phoenix, come get the wind.