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The Charles Potts School
of Thought, Action and Poetry, by klipschutz
 More of this Feature
• The Temple and Its Keeper
• So Who Is This Guy Again?
• “The 62nd Best Little Town In America For Art
• The Temple School of Poetry
• 4 Poems by Charles Potts
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• Herman Berlandt’s International Poetry Museum, by Marj Hahne
• 95 Theses: Mission of the Machines (Marc Awodey’s poetry vending machines)
 Elsewhere on the Web
• The Temple Bookstore
• The Temple School of Poetry

On initial impression, Charles Potts in the flesh called to mind some version of a Jack Mormon spirit-cousin to Groucho Marx, only larger. Despite any overwhelming physical resemblance, his careworn, check-shirted confidence and rapid-fire delivery made me see cigars and bushy eyebrows and secret words, and a wide unpredictable swath. Charles was my publisher, and our encounter took place by prearrangement at the annual Bumbershoot Arts Festival’s small press book fair, where I also saw my new book, Twilight of the Male Ego (Tsunami, Inc., 2002), on his display table for the first time.

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It looked great. And this was the Great Northwest, even if we were sequestered inside the food court pavilion, in the shadow of the world-famous Space Needle, for a Labor Day weekend marathon of shop talk amidst the sun-struck legions of Lou Reed and Jewel fans.

Both of us were slated to read, on the Starbucks Literary Stage no less. (Locals-made-good cast long shadows in Seattle.) The book fair proved intense, and Charles and I took up where we had left off during prior exchanges. (He is prone to offhand observations such as: “Most poetry is academic, in that the answers to the questions it brings up are already in the public domain.”) Four days later we weighed down the compact American Pottsmobile with printed matter and along with his yoga-besotted protégé Andy Glass made tracks across the Cascades towards his home base, for my inaugural reading at the grand opening of The Temple Bookstore and to open the doors of The Temple School of Poetry, where I would be the first “visiting poet.” (Before this drive, to me the Northwest had consisted of the coniferous strip west of the Cascades. The eastern reaches remained mythical -- unforested lowlands with the occasional mountain range, copious fresh water arteries, few residents and serious heat.)

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