Both men foster 'inflectionist' poetry movement

The latest installment of Gresham’s Third Thursday Studios series features a discussion with two award-winning poets, Anatoly Molotkov and John Sibley CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - John Sibley Williams will speak along with Anatoly Molotkov at the Gresham Historical Society on Jan. 16.

The reading and question/answer session will address how the poets create “mental pictures” for their readers, and takes place from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Gresham Historical Society, 410 N. Main Ave. Tickets are $18.

Molotkov is a writer, composer, filmmaker and visual artist who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and arrived in the United States in 1990. He switched to writing in English in 1993 and has written several novels, as well as short story and poetry collections. In 2011, he won the Boone’s Dock Press poetry chapbook contest for his “True Stories from the Future.” He serves on the board of the Oregon Poetry Association and runs the Moonlit Poetry Caravan critique group in Portland.

Molotkov’s new translation of an Anton Chekhov short story was included in a recent Knoph/Random House “Everyman Series” edition of fishing stories. by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Anatoly Molotkov moved to America from Russia in the early 1990s and has worked in music, film and writing.

Williams is the author of “Controlled Hallucinations” as well as six poetry chapbooks. He won a 2011 HEART Poetry Award, and has been a finalist for the Pushcart, Rumi and Pinch Poetry prizes. Williams serves as an editor of The Inflectionist Review, and co-directed the Walt Whitman 150 project, which was created to honor Whitman’s poetic legacy. Williams is also marketing director of Inkwater Press.

Both men collaborated on the chapbook “The End of Mythology,” and helped found the “inflectionist poetry movement,” which, among other goals, seeks to foster dialogue between poets and readers.

“At heart, poetry is an intimate conversation between the writer and reader,” Williams writes at “Beyond that, it accepts the reader’s part in the process and encourages connections deeper than mere recognition, understanding and response. Too much poetry, perhaps most, seems composed with the audience’s reaction in mind … If every reader has the same experience of a poem, the poet has failed at one of the most fundamental tasks of writing — to encourage dialogue, not demand attention via diatribe.”

“A perfect poem is like a room into which the reader is invited with a soft word,” Molotkov adds on the site. “This room contains wonders the reader can explore on their own. The poem does not seek to become its own tour guide by over-explaining its meaning and beauty. The poem respects its topic and treats its reader with empathy, attempting to enrich the reader’s experience. A perfect poem works as well today as it would in the future or the past.”

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