Welcome to the Hazel Hall Mini Museum of Sound
Portland poet Hazel Hall knew a thing or two about isolation and social distance. Reliant on a wheelchair since childhood, Hall viewed life from the window of an upper room in her family’s house in Portland, Oregon. To better observe passersby on the sidewalk, she positioned a small mirror on her windowsill. Hall was an accomplished seamstress; her fine needlework helped to support the family and provided a vivid body of imagery for her precisely crafted, often gorgeously embellished poems.
In celebration of Hall's legacy, Portland artist Laura Glazer created this Mini Museum of Sound, which was originally slated to debut May 1 at a book launch celebration for the new paperback edition of The Collected Poems of Hazel Hall, edited by John Witte, with a new afterword by Anita Helle. That exhibit has been postponed, but we're delighted to be able to bring you this collection of regional voices reading poetry by Hazel Hall. Each contributor was familiar with her work and selected a poem to read.
THE HAZEL HALL MINI MUSEUM OF SOUND PLAYLIST
Chayo Wilson is named for her Costa Rican Grandmother, Chayo, who made pottery. She took every ceramics class she could take during her school years, obtaining her teaching degree from Washington State University. After graduation, she taught classes in clay in the Seattle schools as a roving ceramics teacher. She taught clay in the Los Altos Waldorf School and was involved in the “Teaching Teachers to Teach” program. Now she teaches out of her studio in Portland where she creates sculpture and utilitarian pieces full time.
Anne Greenwood Rioseco (b. Jamestown, North Dakota, 1967) is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, curator, and community arts facilitator based in Portland, Oregon. Her artistic practice navigates an infinite network of connections: narrating the simple and complex, physical and ephemeral, past and present, within the context of place, history, and transformation.
Kim Stafford writes, teaches, and travels to restore the human spirit. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently Wild Honey, Tough Salt. He has served as Oregon's poet laureate 2018-2020.
Leanne Grabel, M.Ed., is a writer, illustrator, performer & retired special education teacher. Currently, Grabel is teaching graphic flash memoir to adults in arts centers and retirement communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. In love with mixing genres, Grabel has written & produced numerous spoken-word multi-media shows, including “The Lighter Side of Chronic Depression”; and “Anger: The Musical.” Her poetry books include Lonesome & Very Quarrelsome Heroes; Short Poems by a Short Person; Badgirls (a collection of flash non-fiction & a theater piece); & Gold Shoes, a collection of graphic prose poems. Grabel has just completed Tainted Illustrated, an illustrated stretched memoir, which is being serialized in THE OPIATE and HUSBAND, a collection of graphic flash memoir. She and her husband Steve Sander are the founders of Café Lena, Portland’s legendary poetry hub of the 90s. Grabel is the 2020 recipient of the Bread and Roses Award for contributions to women's literature in the Pacific Northwest.
Andrea Hollander moved to Portland in 2011, after living for more than three decades in the Arkansas Ozarks, where she was innkeeper of a bed & breakfast for 15 years and the Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College for 22. Hollander’s 5th full-length poetry collection was a finalist for the Best Book Award in Poetry from the American Book Fest; her 4th was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; her 1st won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Her poems and essays appear widely in anthologies, college textbooks, and literary journals, including a recent feature in The New York Times Magazine. Other honors include two Pushcart Prizes (in poetry and literary nonfiction) and two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2017 she initiated the Ambassador Writing Seminars, which she conducts in her home. Her website is.
Matthew Svoboda is a teacher, conductor, pianist, and composer living in Eugene, Oregon. He enjoys improvisations and collaborations with instrumentalists, poets, dancers and choreographers. For his latest large scale work, The Room Upstairs: Uncovering the Life and Poetry of Hazel Hall (2019), Svoboda collaborated with many artists to present a tribute to Hazel Hall through the lens of dance, music, poetry, storytelling, and the visual arts. When he is not doing something musical, Matthew can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his family and friends.
Sue Mach’s plays have been produced by Theatre for the New City in Manhattan, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Portland Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, Icarus Theatre Ensemble, and Clackamas Community College where she teaches writing and literature.
John Witte is a widely published poet, teacher, and former editor of Northwest Review. He is the editor of The Collected Poems of Hazel Hall. His more recent book is Disquiet. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.
Anita Helle wrote the afterword for the 2020 edition of The Collected Poems of Hazel Hall. She is a professor of English in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film at Oregon Statue University. She has served as poetry editor for American Literary Scholarship and is the author of The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath.
Many Americans traveled the Oregon Trail in the middle years of the 19th century, leaving their homes in colonial lands behind to seek new lives in the great western territories.
Brandi Haile arrived in Portland by jet airplane in 2014, bidding adieu and au revoir to her rural western Kentucky hometown and the brighter lights of Nashville, Tennessee, where she made her mark and sharpened her star as a singer-songwriter.
Many labels have been thrown at her. Folk. Indie. Avant-Americana. Female solo artist. Sometimes these apply, and sometimes they do not. She is not a creature beholden to definition. Equally adept behind a piano, funeral-parlor organ or six-stringed acoustic guitar, she is a good witch who casts spells of nostalgia, pain, love, loss, beauty and misery in equal measure.
"For this song, I was trying to find a poem that encompassed sound but also lended to visualizing her at the window too."
Bonus Track: "Ravelling" by Brandi Haile
"A hodgepodge from multiple [Hazel Hall] poems and some of my own lines and artistic liberties."
David Biespiel is the founder of the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters in Portland, Oregon, and Poet-in-Residence at Oregon State University.
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In late 2020, these recordings will be installed on-site at the Mini Museum inside NOUN, a boutique and gallery in southeast Portland, at 3030 SE Belmont Street. The museum is a restored wooden phone booth from the 1940s, complete with its original accordion door and pressed tin walls.
Laura Glazer makes artwork that combines photography, publishing, and curating, and is based in Portland, Oregon. She regulary shares her visual and audio discoveries in her online journal, Minutiae is my muse.
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For National Poetry Month, Add Your Voice to the Hazel Hall Chorus
- Post your own recording of a Hazel Hall poem to your social media feed. (Use hashtag #HazelHall and #OSUPress on Twitter)
- Mail a postcard to your poetry-loving friends. Send your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll happily send you up to 10 pre-printed postcards to share. Just let us know how many.
- If you live in Portland, walk past NOUN at 3300 SE Belmont Street and admire the Hazel Hall window exhibit beginning May 1.
- Celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30 by requesting a postcard or by downloading one of the PDFs. Put the poem in your pocket, or post it above your kitchen sink (inspired by Poets House).