June's Killer Literary Events

LitHop and Poetry Press Week, PDX's best new lit happenings, kick off a crazy month that also includes Tom Robbins, Colin Meloy, Blumesday, and some local debuts.

By Danielle Klenak June 4, 2014

Portlanders and books aren't just foul-weather friends. Sure, the sun and school are out, but June's cooking up to be a major month of literary happenings, including two of our new favorites: Poetry Press Week and LitHop.

Also, see our new Guide to Storytelling Events for live action literature.

literary events

Poetry Press Week
June 7, Disjecta

This weekend kicks off the first of three literary extravaganzas with Poetry Press Week. Taking a page from Fashion Week, Poetry Press Week gives poets a chance to strut their work down the catwalk using “models” as readers. The standing-room-only debut last fall involved things like costumed synchronized readings, poems put to music, and the cutest ever bloody-ghost kid (read our review). Poets this time range from local hotshot Zachary Schomburg to multi-award-winning visitor Albert Goldbarth.

June 12, Alberta Street
The inaugural LitHop last year transformed Hawthorne Boulevard into a book lover’s bacchanal, as some 700 people bounced from bar to coffee shop to bar to hear dozens of writers read their work. This year, the event hops to Alberta Street where six local publishing houses will be bringing writers to makeshift stages in bars and book shops, turning them all into regular speakeasies of words and booze. Bring your best librarian glasses and walking shoes.

  • Hawthorne Books takes over the Cruzroom with many of its local heavy hitters, including Tom Spanbauer, Monica Drake, Scott Nadelson, Kerry Cohen, Jay Ponteri, and more.
  • The IRPC checks into Ampersand Gallery and Fine Books with IRPC director and memoirist Justin Hocking, Somnabulist zinester Martha Groves, poet Emily Kendal Frey, and friends.
  • Eraserhead Press lands at Bunk Bar and Via Chicago's back patio with Bizzaro Fiction writers Tiffany Scandal, Jeff Burk, and more.
  • Publication Studio hearts Anna Bannanas
  • Unchaste Readers hits it hard at the Knock Back Bar
  • And alice blue hangs at Whiskey Branch and Bella Faccia

June 17, Secret Society

Not to be confused with Bloomsday (the June 16 celebration of Irish writer James Joyce), Blumesday celebrates the works of young-adult bard Judy Blume with a lineup of leading local literary ladies sharing their most profound, awkward, and titillating experiences with Blume’s oft-censored books. Hosted by Joanna Miller, Megan Sweigert and Brooke DeNisco, with performances by Arthur Bradford, Lesley Harper, B. Frayn Masters, Amy Miller, Jimmy Radosta, and Audrey Van Buskirk.


Only in Portland can going to a book reading be on par with attending a rock concert. In fact, two such infamous musicians will be at Powell’s this weekend, and Tom Robbins, the “most dangerous writer in the world,” will also be in town, visiting the Cedar Hills location, as well as several promising local debuts.

James Fearnley with Colin Meloy
June 6
James Fearnley of Pogues notoriety discusses his memoir about his time in the band to Decemberists’ frontman Colin Meloy.

Smith Henderson
June 10
This Montanan-turned-Portland writer releases his debut novel, Fourth of July Creek, about a social worker who finds himself at the center of an FBI manhunt.

Tom Robbins
June 14, Powell's at Cedar Hills
The so-called “most dangerous writer in the world” shares his side of things in his first memoir about his wild and unlikely life, Tibetan Peach Pie.

Polly Dugan
June 19
The debut book by this Portland author, So Much a Part of You, links together 10 stories about two women with similar names and intertwining lives. Published by Little, Brown, Duggan is a name to watch. Read our interview with Dugan.

Brian Benson
June 24
Benson’s memoir, Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America, is quintessentially Portland: directionless boy meets girl; boy and girl go on cross-country bike ride. Just like your neighbor.


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