Last Tuesdays Poetry Group; March 26, 2019

by Danielle Champíet-Coronado

We were doubly blessed this month to have been treated to two great poets in one evening. Drawing one of our largest crowds, Emily Van Kley and Jon Lupin braved the elements and bad traffic to deliver vivacious and uproarious readings. It was an unforgettable evening.

Emily Van Kley won the imaginary coin toss and started our event with her memoir-based collection, ‘The Cold And The Rust’. Fabulous poetry that details her life and experiences growing up in upper Michigan with imagery so crisp that you can feel the chilled air and smell the snow. With page after page of interesting and unique stories such as goldfish freezing mid-water in their tank, ‘The Cold And The Rust’ will take you on a wild Midwestern adventure. Spoiler alert: the goldfish survive!

Emily Van Kley reading

Photography by Civitella Ranieri

I had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Van Kley before the event and learn a little more about the intriguing new author. A woman of many talents she is a gifted aerial acrobat and teaches classes throughout the week in the art. Always with new projects brewing, one of which combines her aerial arts with her poetry. I was blessed with a preview video and it’s phenomenal!

Photography by Jo Arlow

Forsaking her beloved snow for the greenery and drizzle of Washington, she is working on a new book about grief, climate change and life in the Pacific Northwest. After reading selections from ‘The Cold And The Rust’, Ms. Van Kley shared a few of her newer works; Houseboat – about life in the NW, Body – a celestial poem and Electromagnetic – a poem about ball lightening and fear of it. I’ve never witnessed ball lightening but my first Midwestern storm instilled a deep desire to build a house made entirely of 20-inch thick rubber panels.

We talked about the writer-reader relationship and she sent me a couple of reviews that she had received. Most of the time, the reader sees what the writer conveys but occasionally someone will have a different experience. Our views change with changes in life and perspectives and the same poem, painting or picture that we’ve viewed before now means something different. Not good or bad, just different. Of this Ms. Van Kley said, “poems have a life outside of you once you make them, so it makes sense that they will have unexpected meanings for certain readers.”

Jon Lupin, also known as The Poetry Bandit to his Instagram followers, began his reading with a few selections from his first book, ‘My Sober Little Moon’. It was the success of this book that led to MacMillan Publishing reaching out to Mr. Lupin to create ‘You Only Love Me When I’m Suffering’. Detailing such experiences as alcoholism, bipolar disorder, sobriety, love, loss and all in between, his writing is a perfect balance of vulnerability and strength.


Jon Lupin reading

“I wrote a fantasy novel when I was 16, then I wrote movies and then I wrote a lot of short stories, then I began drinking and then I became an alcoholic, and then I got sober and then I started writing poetry. So that’s kind of my life in a nutshell.” It’s a very action-packed nutshell too. Somewhere in the mix was a period of writing songs and playing them in cafes and these days, his nutshell includes his wife, three children and his own insurance company. Mr. Lupin is a master of social media. Sharing his creations on Instagram, The Poetry Bandit enjoys over 146,000 followers.

Jon - Instagram  Jon Lupin & Misha Collins

In-person, Mr. Lupin is down-to-earth, charming and funny as he spoke openly about his struggles with alcoholism and family losses, subtly touching on the difference between the healthcare systems in the U.S. and Canada. Of writing he said that he likes the versatility that writing affords. Whether it’s the sad guy or the happy guy, he can choose the level of vulnerability that he wants to be and that “being vulnerable was something that he learned after becoming sober and helping others to get sober.” His poem ‘Crowns’ encompasses that. ‘You Only Love Me When I’m Suffering’ is a fantastic collection poems that are rich in emotions and life experiences. One that I liked a lot is All of the Things. I read it last month as a taste of what was to come and was instantly hooked. From bittersweet romances like ‘Fairytales and ‘Cemetery Love’ to the book’s namesake, ‘You Only Love Me When I’m Suffering’, Mr. Lupin’s writing has a raw honesty and vulnerability that’s captivating.

Jon - poem

Open mic poets:

Bob Sunshine Joyce ColsonCathie PadgettJustin Allen and Colin!

Please join us on April 30th at 7pm. Our featured poet will be Shaindel Beers reading from ‘Secure Your Own Mask.’ Here is a teaser of her poetry:

Danielle Champíet-Coronado reading from ‘Secure Your Own Mask’ by Shaindel Beers

I would like to take a moment to honor the life of former US Poet Llaureate, W.S. Merwin who died on March 15, 2019 at the age of 91.

The Last Tuesdays poetry group is co-hosted by David Hill, Cathie Padgett and myself at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Vancouver, WA. All are welcome to attend this community event and, if they wish, read a family-friendly poem or two during our open mic sessions.

If you are an avid open mic reader the Vancouver scene will keep you dancing! In addition to our events, we have Tiger Talk hosted by Joyce Colson which gathers on the third Wednesday of each month at the Paper Tiger coffeehouse and Ghost Town Poetry hosted by Christopher Luna and Toni Lumbrazo Luna which has an open mic on the 2nd Thursday of each month at Niche Bar/Angst Gallery.


All books listed are available for purchase at Barnes and Noble bookstores or online at:

The Cold And The Rust by Emily Van Kley

You Only Love Me When I’m Suffering by Jon Lupin

My Sober Little Moon by Jon Lupin

Secure Your Own Mask by Shaindel Beers

Speak – literary magazine found in-store at newsstand

Rattle Magazine – literary magazine found in-store at newsstand

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