About

I write, teach and do projects in Portland, Oregon. My work has taken me into public schools, prisons and shelters and out onto the streets. Participatory projects have featured postal workers, poets, immigrants and women incarcerated at the Coffee Creek Correctional facility. I am fortunate to teach for Lewis & Clark College, Sitka Center for Art & Ecology and for Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program. I earned an MFA from Eastern Washington University.

In 2011, I founded Street Books, a bicycle-powered mobile library serving people who live outside and at the margins. It was supposed to be a 3-month art project, but at the “end,” a library patron named Keith (who lived in Forest Park) checked out books and said, “See you next week.” I realized if I didn’t show, he wouldn’t have a place to return his books. Now it’s 10 years later and I’m the Executive Director and there’s a whole crew of really stellar people keeping the street library in operation. I am co-writing a book about Street Books with Ben Hodgson, a former library patron who now lives indoors and works as a street librarian in Old Town.

I live in the Cully neighborhood with my sidekick Ben Parzybok and our kids. We have had years full of interesting experiences like this one: once a garden spider lived in our kitchen window for eight months. We named her Claudine and fed her meal worms when the summer insects ran out. One night we watched her rappel straight down onto the counter, land gently on her back and cease moving. It was an impressively Shakespearean ending but we were sorry to see her go. [Below is an extreme close-up of Claudine after she died – it makes her look huge but she was a regular sized garden spider].

My email: laura@ideacog.net / Real mail: PO Box 13642 Portland, OR 97213

After Claudine died, our then 9-year-old daughter waited for what she felt was the appropriate amount of time for grieving (about 5 minutes) before she asked if she could add Claudine to her Bug Board. Claudine is pictured here, bottom right.
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