Speaker Bios

Paulann Peterson  |  Lawson Inada  |  Haydn Reiss  |  Ingrid Wendt
Dennis Schmidling  |  Ann Staley  |  Ed Higgins

Paulann PetersenPaulann Petersen

Born Paulann Whitman in Portland in 1942, Paulann Petersen has lived her entire life in Oregon. Growing up in Southeast Portland, she attended Richmond Grade School and Franklin High School. Her father, Paul Whitman, was a sheet metal mechanic, and her mother, Grace Whitman, a registered nurse. After high school, Paulann attended Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

Paulann’s family then moved to Klamath Falls, and she spent the next 31 years as a housewife, a mother, and eventually a public high school teacher. Inspired by Klamath Fall's high plateau landscape, Paulann began writing poetry. Her first published poem appeared in the Sunday Oregonian in 1975.

In 1976, Paulann returned to school for her teaching degree. She taught English at Mazama High School for eight years, publishing a number of poems in literary journals. Paulann won a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and spent a year in Stanford studying with poets including Adrienne Rich and Grace Paley.

In 1991 she moved back to Portland to teach at West Linn High School. Since 1993, Paulann has lived in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood. Her husband, Ken Pallack, is a retired legal aid lawyer and mediator. Paulann has two grown children, Edie Lungreen, who lives in San Francisco, and Chris Petersen, who lives with his family in Northeast Portland.

Paulann has given readings in hundreds of spots from Powell's in Portland to Omsania University in India, from Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls to the Museum Hotel in Central Turkey, and in virtually every nook and cranny of Oregon. Her poetry is featured on TriMet public transportation as part of Poetry in Motion. She frequently teaches workshops for colleges, high schools, libraries and writers' organizations.

For the last 10 years, she's served on the board of Friends of William Stafford, organizing the annual birthday celebrations. For more information about Paulann's publications and awards, visit her website at Paulann.net.

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Lawson InadaLawson Inada

Lawson Fusao Inada is an emeritus professor of writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Inada is the author of five books: Legends from Camp, Drawing the Line, In This Great Land of Freedom, Just Into/Nations and Before the War. He is the editor of three important volumes, including the acclaimed Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese-American Internment Experience.

On two previous occasions, in 1972 and 1985, Professor Inada won poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and his work has appeared in The Best American Poetry.

In addition to these individual publications, Inada has written critical introductions to a number of works, such as John Okada’s No-No Boy.

He is also a contributing editor for the Northwest Review and was the narrator for PBS specials on "Children of the Camps" and "Conscience and the Constitution."

In 2004 he was one of only 185 artists, scholars and scientists chosen from a nationwide pool of 3,200 applicants to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is currently serving as the Steinbeck Chair for the National Steinbeck Center, a forum established to promote a community-wide celebration of literature in the tradition of John Steinbeck.

Inada has been recognized by the President of the United States, appearing at the White House in "A Salute to Poetry and American Poets." His poetry volume Legends from Camp (1992) received the American Book Award and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. He is a winner of the Governor's Arts Award (1997), the Oregon Book Award (for Drawing the Line, 1997), and the Pushcart Prize (1996) for poetry.

In 1997, he was awarded a Creative Arts Grant from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund and his work has been the subject of a documentary titled "What It Means to Be Free: A Video about Poetry and Japanese-American Internment" and an award-winning animated film of "Legends from Camp" made in collaboration with his son, artist Miles Inada.

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Haydn ReissHaydn Reiss

Haydn is a media professional with more than 20 years experience working in film and television. He began his career working for Academy Award-winning screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost), then was director Adrian Lyne’s (Fatal Attraction) assistant for two years on the feature film Jacob’s Ladder, starring Tim Robbins.

He later worked for producer A. Kitman Ho on Oliver Stone’s JFK. On his own he has produced numerous videos and programs for PBS and other clients. His documentary work includes the award-winning Rumi: Poet of the Heart, which aired on PBS and played in film festivals around the world, and his latest work Every War Has Two Losers, based on the writings of poet and conscientious objector William Stafford. It, too, was broadcast on PBS. He lives in Northern California and is principle of Zinc Films.

Haydn has taught filmmaking workshops at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Calif., and lectured at community colleges.

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Ingrid WendtIngrid Wendt

Ingrid Wendt's 30 years with state-funded Arts-in-Education programs have taken her into hundreds of classrooms in Oregon, Iowa, Utah, Washington, and Illinois, where she has worked with many thousands of students, grades K-12. Her one-day to three-week school residencies offer students access into modern poetry and the opportunity to see how poems can grow out of their own lives.

American born, the daughter of a German-Chilean father and German-American mother, Ingrid has spent numerous periods of extended living abroad. She has twice traveled to Chile, where she was an exchange student in 1964. Comfortable with speaking, reading, and lecturing in Spanish, Ingrid is able to teach bi-lingual classes, to work one-on-one with Spanish-speaking students, and to introduce all students to Latin and South American poetry in translation.

Since 1983, Wendt has traveled extensively in Western Europe. Conversant in Italian and German, she has resided at the Rockefeller Foundation's Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy; lectured, presented workshops, and read her poems in many locations in Germany and Italy; attended an international writers' festival in Finland; lived for three months in Troms, Norway; and lived twice, for five and then eleven months, in Frankfurt, Germany.

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Dennis SchmidlingDennis Schmidling

Dennis Schmidling is currently the board chair for the Friends of William Stafford and has served on the board for the last 12 years. He was a friend to Stafford and was mentored by him during his early career as a teacher at San Francisco State. In addition to teaching, Dennis served on the West Coast staff of Time – Life as a writer, researcher and photographer. In the early 1970s, Dennis became involved in graphic design and communications, and founded a leading corporate communications firm in San Francisco. In later years, he served in positions as a senior executive with two Fortune 50 companies and as a senior principal with the second largest design and communications firm in the United States. For the last 20 years, Dennis has freelanced as a writer, photographer and graphic designer. He is married to Helen, who also serves on the board of FWS, and they live in Lake Oswego, Ore.

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Ann StaleyAnn Staley

Ann Staley is a teacher, essayist, poet and artist. She has taught in Oregon high schools, community colleges and public and private universities for the last 40 years, with a two-decade-long tenure at Lewis and Clark College's Northwest Writing Institute. Ann was a co-founding editor of Fireweed: A Journal of Poetry of Western Oregon from 1987-1999 before the magazine moved to Portland. National Council Teachers of English acknowledged Ann's contributions to both content and the profession with an Excellence Award in Teaching English Language Arts in 2001. She planned and has participated in The William Stafford Symposiums, the annual William Stafford January Birthday Readings, and hundreds of workshops for teachers, teachers as writers, and writers in the Pacific Northwest. In Ann's workshops, participants write and share, listen, read, and write again, imitating the processes that work for any writer in any genre. Her workshops run the gamut from "Writing to Learn" to "Memoir: Inventing the Truth" and "Visual Thinking" to "Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Living," upcoming through Chemeketa's LifeLong Learning Institute. Ann has also taught in the Women's Correctional Facility, Seaside Summer Institute, at Menucha, Mt. Angel Seminary, University of Alaska at the Kuskukwim Campus, for the Poets & Rural Libraries series (with colleague Steve Jones) and many other venues. Ann has published narrowly and locally: Solo: On Her Own Ground, Seal Press; The Sunday Oregonian, Poets Corner; Bowl of Stories, II, III, IV;  Cloudbank2, Jefferson Public Radio, Poets' Pages. Ann was selected, one of four writers, to participate with four artists in the exhibit "Dialogical" which showed at the Salem, Bush Barn, January 2010. Since 2008, Ann has published a poetry broadside completed by her collage. Previous years include Sing, O, My Tongue the Glorious and Getting to the Island. This year's is titled Siblings. A poetry collection, titled (so far) Artifacts and Evidence, is in the making.

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Ed HigginsEd Higgins

Ed has taught at George Fox for nearly 40 years, beginning as an assistant professor in 1971.  He has taught a very wide variety of courses, including poetry, modern novel, the world literature series, science fiction, and many more. 

His main academic interests are contemporary poetry and science fiction.

Ed's publications include hundreds of original poems, essays, and short fiction published in traditional and online journals ranging from Friends Journal to Taj Mahal Review. He was recently named poetry editor for the Seattle-based literary journal Dark Sky Magazine.

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