Whenever anything closes for âretooling,â we usually file our obituary. But the huge Wordstock book fair is coming back for real, not in a sad Convention Center meant for dentists and taxidermists, but inside the Portland Art Museum. And there will be readings all over townâin galleries, bars and bookstoresâin a lit crawl centered on Portlandâs greatest bookstore smaller than a city block, Mother Foucaultâs. This, finally, is the book fest that Portland deserves. Welcome back, Wordstock. We like the new look. Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave., literary-arts.org. Saturday, Nov. 7. $15.
From its chilling, impossible first page, Joy Williams' 1973 novel State of Grace is a masterpiece that feels like a rent in the fabric of the world. But it is for her biting, deeply funny short stories that Williams is best known and loved, and she's releasing her first new collection in 10 years, The Visiting Privilege. Williams is a knee-slapping presence, with lacerating intelligence, and one of American fiction's few true masters. Don't miss her. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 800-878-7323. 7:30 pm Monday, Sept. 21. Free.
Matthew Dickman and Brian Laidlaw
In January, Spider-Man himself read hometown poet Matthew Dickman's poem "King"—based on the suicide of Dickman's brother—to hundreds of thousands of people for The New Yorker Presents. Actor Andrew Garfield dedicated it, however, to someone else. Hear the 2015 Guggenheim winner read his singular, sad, idiosyncratic and conversational poems in his own soft voice instead. He'll be joined by Minneapolis poet Brian Laidlaw, whose most recent collections are accompanied by music. Mother Foucault's, 523 SE Morrison St., 236-2665. Thursday, Sept. 17. 7 pm. Free.
Eileen Myles is a badass. For 40 years of published poetry, she has been a source of mirth and joy and sudden heartbreak. Not to mention her last book was probably the first Guggenheim-funded novel about the life of a dog. âThe things I embrace as new are in fact old things, re-released,â she writes. Well, all her poems up to now have been re-released in a new collection, and sheâs being re-released in Portland. Treat her as new. Powellâs City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 800-878-7323. Sunday, Oct. 18. 7:30 pm. Free.
Haters, sit the fuck down. Carrie Brownstein's local history as part of Sleater-Kinney is, for many of us, our own—and she has long been an articulate and funny and intelligent voice behind piercing guitar that left tatters behind. She will appear with a "special guest" to discuss her new memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, documenting her trip from a kid in a weird family to feminist icon to, you know, a brief flirtation with Wieden kknd Kennedy. And if you're mad she grew up, well, why didn't you? Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway , 248-4335, portland5.com/newmark-theatre. 7:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 5. $37.95.
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