April 23rd, 2010
Monday night the poet Jorn Ake was in town giving a reading from his latest book at The Elliott Bay Book Company in their new Capital Hill location. It was the first time I had visited Seattle’s legendary independent bookstore’s new location and was impressed that they very much kept the spirit of the old bookstore in the translation to Capital Hill. I first met Jorn in Prague where he and his wife Claudia were living and I was visiting with my wife Jana. It was good to see them again.
The New York City-based poet Jorn Ake read from his Blue Lynx Prize-winning new collection, Boys Whistling Like Canaries (Eastern Washington University Press). “Boys Whistling Like Canaries is a collection haunted by the grim history of the 20th century, and by how its legacy continues to so troublesomely endure. Ake tackles the most vexing subjects—among them our current wars, the Holocaust, and Cold War totalitarianism—yet he reckons with them without resorting to bromides, polemics, or the benumbing timidity with so often afflicts the work of American poets when they seek to confront injustice. In his rangy and querulous approach, Ake recalled the work of two of our finest poets of social justice, George Oppen and Thomas McGrath. To be linked with them is no small accomplishment.” – David Wojahn. Jorn Ake’s 2001 debut, Asleep in the Lightning Fields, received the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize.
Photograph by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializing in photojournalism, portraits and photography for publications and corporations.