What if Gretel stayed in the forest? What does Death do on vacation? Come to the dark and delicious side of the folk stories you know and love, with Bend poets Suzanne Burns and Judith Montgomery, guest readers at December’s Second Sunday. Second Sunday has often featured two poets reading together. But the pairing of Burns and Montgomery is more than just two poets reading in the same space on the same day. Both poets have explored fairy tales and myths in their poems and December’s Second Sunday provides an opportunity to observe how the voices of two poets can blend together. Open mic follows the reading.
Montgomery and Burns are both quick to point out what their poetry has in common. “We both infuse our poems with a love of language,” says Burns. “I am a confirmed dictionary lover,” says Montgomery, “and a hoarder of delicious words.” Both poets came to fairy tales and myths as young readers. “Fairy tales were the first stories I grew up hearing,” says Burns, “and I became enchanted when I found and illicit copy of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, filled with all the mystery and gore a pre-teen could hope for.” Montgomery points to Edith Hamilton’s stories of Greek and Roman mythology as her gateway into myths and fairy tales. “Tales of minotaurs and wicked or maybe not-so-wicked, only misunderstood, witches offer delicious possibilities for exploring the ‘other side’ of any given story,” she says. According to Montgomery “Fractured Fairy Tales” allow us to look at an ancient tale from the point of view of minor character. “Fractured Fairy Tales open up new worlds, interior and exterior. Plus it’s just fun to break the everyday open into the wonder-full,” she says.
Judith Montgomery’s poems appear in Bellingham Review
, Cimarron Review
, and Prairie Schooner
, among other journals, and in a number of anthologies. Her first collection, Passion, received the 2000 Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her second, Red Jess, a finalist for several first-book competitions, appeared in 2006 from Cherry Grove Collections. Pulse & Constellation
, a finalist for the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition, appeared in 2007 from the Press. She lives with her husband and Springer spaniel in Bend, Oregon, enjoys judging poetry competitions, and teaches poetry workshops throughout the state.
Suzanne Burns writes poetry and fiction in Bend, Oregon (and sometimes in Paris, France). Red Paint Hill Publishing recently published Siblings
, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel and the 2013 Diagram Innovative Fiction Prize winner. In autumn Futurecyle Press published the poetry chapbook, Love Songs for Las Vegas
. Black Scat Books just released her first experimental novel, Sweet and Vicious
. Dzanc Books will release The Veneration of Monsters
, a follow-up to her debut short story collection, Misfits and Other Heroes
, in the near future. Her stories and poems have appeared in newspapers and journals such as The Chicago Tribune
, The Sunday Oregonian
, Poetry Midwest
and the High Desert Journal
. She is currently working on a new novel.