Writing

Languages & Literature

Kirsten Rian is widely published as a journalist, essayist and poet. Her work has appeared in magazines, international literary journals and anthologies, and she is the author of two books. Her newest book, Life Expectancy, was released in 2018 as part of the Pacific Northwest Writers Series through Redbat Books.

She has led creative writing workshops both domestically, as well as internationally in locations like post-war Sierra Leone and refugee relocation centers in Finland, and with human trafficking survivors, using creative writing as a tool for literacy and peacebuilding, and locally is a volunteer language facilitator for non-native speakers. She is the recipient of numerous artist fellowships and grants.

  • Adjunct Professor, Portland State University, English department, 2009-present.
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Portland, English department, 2013-present.
  • Poetry Editor; book reviewer, The Oregonian, 2012-2016.
  • Columnist, Daylight Magazine. Author of “The Alphabet of Light,” a weekly column for international photography magazine; featured writer for the publication’s iPad app, 2012 -present.
  • Instructor, Literary Arts, Portland, Oregon. Taught writing to at-risk and regular education high school students in Portland Public School District through the Writers in the Schools program, 2005-2010.
  • Instructor, Fishtrap International Literary Festival, creative writing, Wallowa Lake, OR, 2009-2012.
  • Instructor, Pacific Northwest College of Art, poetry, Fall, 2011.
  • Writer in Resident/Instructor, Multnomah County Library system. Conducted poetry workshops with refugee and immigrant communities at library branches throughout Portland. Produced anthology of work catalogued within library system, 2007, 2008.
  • Volunteer language group facilitator, Multnomah County Library, Talk Time: conversation practice for non-native speakers, 2012 to present.
  • Curator and host of monthly author series, Comma, at Broadway Books, Portland, OR, 2011-present.
  • Freelance grant writer and book editor for creative and arts organizations in Portland, OR and San Francisco Bay Area. Rian has written for and coordinated the production of 80 books and catalogues, 1989-present.
  • Writing workshop program development. Conducted writing workshops introducing creative writing as a tool for literacy, self-expression, and trauma processing for refugee and immigrant individuals and trafficked women. IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization), Portland, Oregon, 2005-2007; Naistari International Center for Migrant Women, Tampere, Finland, 2004; The IRC (International Rescue Committee) in Boise, Idaho, 2006, 2007; Catalyst Peacebuilding, Sierra Leone, 2007. Contapolous Music Therapy and The Soul Care House Therapy, San Diego, California, 2014, 2015.
  • Instructor, Saturday Academy. Taught creative writing, composition, journalism, art history, visual arts to middle and high school students, 2008, 2009.
  • Instructor, I Have a Dream Foundation. Taught creative writing and composition to at-risk eighth graders, summer 2008.
  • Poetry workshop instructor with homeless population. Workshops held at Sixth Street Center, San Francisco, California, 2006-2010.
  • Writer in Residence, Atkinson Elementary. Grant received from Artists for the Arts to work with third grade Spanish immersion students using poetry as a tool for story telling. Book produced, 2006/2007 academic year.
  • Selection Committee, Soapstone, a non profit literary residency program, 2006.
  • Languages and Literature Sub-Committee Task Force for Scandinavian Heritage Foundation, Portland, Oregon.  Developed multi-cultural programs that preserve and present Scandinavian authors and languages to the greater Portland community, 2004, 2005.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor for recently relocated refugee and immigrant adults in Portland area, 2004-present.

Selected Publications–Visual Arts & Literature

  • Author, Life Expectancy, Redbat Press, Northwest Writers Series, a full-length collection of poetry, 2018.
  • Author, Life Expectancy, limited edition artist book with letterpress cover, Wynscope Press,  2015.
  • Author, Waltz in Mars Time, Berberis Press/Lewis & Clark College, a limited edition letterpress chapbook in a 4-part series of regional poets produced by the College,  2013.
  • Author, Kalashnikov In The Sun, Pika Press, an anthology of Sierra Leonean poetry, 2010.
  • Co-author, Walking Bridges Using Poetry As Compass, Urban Adventure Press, a collection of contemporary poetry funded in part with a grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council, 2007.
  • Essays, Daylight Magazine, web; iPad app; physical magazine, 2012-present.
  • Articles and bi-weekly poetry column, The Oregonian, 2012 to 2016.
  • Author, Fugue, a limited edition artist book of essays and poems, Laurwyn Press, 2009.
  • Monograph essay, Bruce Haley, Home Fires, Daylight, US, 2021.
  • Monograph essay, Emily Matyas, Celebrating Home, Daylight Books, USA, 2018
  • Monograph essay, Lisa McCarty, Transcendental Concord, Radius Books, USA, 2018
  • Monograph essay, Moses Kainwo, Ayo Ayo and Other Love Songs, Sierra Leoneon Writers Series, Sierra Leone, 2015
  • Monograph poem, Michael Lange, Fluss, HatjeCantz, Germany, 2015
  • Monograph poem, Hiroshi Watanabe, The Day the Dam Collapses, Daylight Books, US, 2014.
  • Monograph essay, David Maisel, Black Maps, Steidl, Germany, 2012.
  • Monograph essay, Taj Forer, Stone by Stone, Kehrer Verlag/Germany, 2011.
  • Monograph essay, Bruce Haley, Sunder, Charta/Daylight, Italy/NY, 2011.
  • Monograph essay, Hiroshi Watanabe, Findings, CMPL, Los Angeles, CA, 2007.
  • Monograph essay, Ann Ploeger, Untitled, Franklin Beedle, Portland, OR, 2007.
  • Writing published in numerous magazines and national literary journals, including Oregon Poets Against the War, Rainy Day Press, 2004; Top-25 winner in poetry for Glimmer Train Journal, 2004; RHINO Literary Journal, Chicago, IL, Spring 2005, 2011; Upstreet Literary Journal, Boston, MA, Spring, 2007; Jefferson Monthly, Ashland, OR, Fall, 2008; On the Issues Magazine, online, Winter, 2008; Not A Muse Anthology, Hong Kong, 2010; Oregonian, Portland, OR, 2011; Rhino (runner-up, Founder’s Prize), Chicago, IL, 2011; Broadriver Review, Raleigh, NC, 2011; Daylight Magazine, New York, NY, weekly, 2011-present; Portland Magazine, Portland, OR, 2011, 2012.
  • Work nominated for inclusion in Best New Poets anthology, 2008.
  • Critic’s Pick, The Oregonian, May 1, 2008.
  • Review, The Oregonian, November 3, 2005.
  • Critic’s Pick, The Portland Mercury, Vol. 6, No. 23, 2005.

Selected Readings & Lectures –Visual Arts & Literature

  • Featured reader, Annie Bloom’s Books, May, 2018.
  • Featured reader, Powell’s Books, January, 2017.
  • Featured reader, Broadway Books, May, 2015.
  • Featured speaker, Notre Dame University, International Peace Studies department, Creativity and Compassionate Presence: the arts and healing, 2013.
  • Featured reader, University of Portland, English department sponsored reading series, 2012.
  • Featured speaker, Linfield College, English department symposium on war, 2012.
  • Featured poet & speaker, Lawson Inada Poetry Festival, Southern Oregon University, 2011.
  • Featured speaker, Portland Center Stage, panel discussion on visual art and war following a performance of The Iliad, 2010.
  • Featured speaker, Oregon Humanities, Think & Drink series explores photography and war, 2010.
  • Featured poet, Lewis & Clark College, International Affairs symposium on peace, May, 2009.
  • Featured poet, William Stafford birthday celebration, Multnomah County Library, Central Library, January, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
  • Featured poet, Verse in Person series, Multnomah County Library, 2008.
  • Featured poet, Wordstock Literary Festival, 2008.
  • Featured poet, Annual William Stafford Memorial Poetry & Potluck event, September, 2007.
  • Featured poet, San Francisco Center for the Book, Poets Pulling Poems series, funded in part with a grant from Poets & Writers. Limited edition letterpress broadside produced at event, 2006.
  • Featured poet, Second Sundays Series, Stayton, OR, November, 2007.
  • Featured poet, Portland Bridge Walk, Portland Parks & Recreation, July, 2006.
  • Invited lecturer to Portland State University practicum linguistics students in Spring, 2005; Fall, 2006; Winter, 2006; Winter, 2007; Fall, 2007; Winter, 2008; creative writing as a tool for literacy and healing with alternative populations.
  • Invited presenter, ORTESOL conference, Fall 2005, presented seminar on use of poetry in a workshop setting with refugee and immigrant communities to foster literacy and the sharing of language and stories.

Selected Awards and Grants

  • Grant recipient, Regional Arts and Culture Council, 2015.
  • Artist Residency Grant, Herhusid Foundation, Iceland, 2014, 2018.
  • Fellowship recipient, Oregon Arts Commission, 2013.
  • Artist Grant, Catalyst Foundation, grant to travel to Sierra Leone and hold writing workshops with war survivors, 2007.
  • Work nominated for inclusion in Best New Poets anthology, 2008.
  • Regional Arts & Culture Council, project grant in partnership with co-author for book project, 2007.
  • Graduate Fellowship, Portland State University, full tuition and stipend to obtain MFA at Portland State University, 2009.
  • Artist Grant, Artists for the Arts, funded artist residency at Atkinson Elementary School.
  • Awarded 2005 Soapstone poetry artist residency, May 2005.