Meet Your June 2013 Breadline Feature: J.W. (John) Marshall

1. June is often considered a seasonally transitional high point. How do you plan on making and/or recognizing the month of June as a space of transition for yourself and your art?

I did not know that about June. Pretty much each day all year has its challenges regarding change and stasis and I am not much of a planning type. Normally I’d say I hope to get by, now I’ll say it’s June so I plan to get by.

2. How much wood can you chuck?

I chuck, others do the measuring. You’ll have to ask them.

3. When you think of “summer,” what inspiration arrives?

I was on a murder jury in a case where an unarmed kid, who likely was a gang-banger who was pushing for a fight, was shot and killed by a mini-mart owner down on Rainier Ave. on hydroplane weekend. When the weather heats up and we get to the hydro races I think about that sad little interaction where we humans just seem like
mean and petty animals.

4. The poet faces the god and has one thing to say. What is it?

Were you entertained?

5. If you have been to the summit of Mt. Rainier, what words did you speak on it? And if you have not but imagine being there, what words would you speak on it?

I have not been on the summit but once in the park I helped scatter a friend’s ashes in an area with a clear moonlit view of the close and beautiful mountain. It takes my speech away each time, even just seeing it from 45th over the top of Dick’s Drive-In.

6. There is the tactile window. There is the digital screen window. What is the next window?

There was windowpane acid, too. A physically very small window opened some years ago, but the view though it goes beyond the next window and the one after the next. It makes the particulars hard to distinguish, and harder to care about.

7. What is your favorite bird? What is your favorite bird to eat?

I love the bushtits plenty. They are so social and chatty. And I love the amazing sonics available to the starlings. They have such lovely, various, and comical songs. Tofurky is my favorite eating bird.

8. Tell us about your favorite road trip in America.

A train trip from Chicago to Seattle in the fall. The colors, particularly at sunrise, on the plains were astounding and the sun was setting as we entered the Rockies. Really by far the best road trip is always going to be a railroad trip.

9. How will we know it is you the night of Breadline?

I come when called.

10. Give us a link to something on the Internet we should explore, investigate, or abandon.

This, from the John Adams opera “Nixon In China.” Give it a minute at least, it’s amazing music, singing, and drama–


J.W. (John) Marshall co-owns and operates Open Books, the poetry-only bookstore in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.  His first collection of poetry, Meaning a Cloud, was won the Field Poetry Prize and was published by Oberlin College Press in 2008. He has had poetry and prose appearing in Raven Chronicles, Poetry Northwest, Field, Hubbub, Seattle Review, and other magazines. Paul Hunter’s Wood Works Press has published two chapbooks of his work, Blue Mouth and Taken With. He is a fan of the Mariners even though they are exasperating.

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