Harpies debut ‘Language of Shadows’


Local writers got a spotlight on Saturday night (Dec. 11) as the Cottage Grove Harpies celebrated the publishing of “Language of Shadows,” an anthology of poems, stories and essays.

“We’re pretty proud of the project for a first-time effort,” said Harpy Rod Williams.

Harpies and participating writers flocked to the Opal Center for Arts and Education last weekend for selected readings by authors of the collected works.

The majority of the book’s writers are Cottage Grove residents with a few from other parts of South Lane County. In all, some 70 contributors submitted works, meaning many submissions, though accepted, did not make it into the book.

However, the group is planning a 2022 anthology.

“So those folks may actually get rolled over into next year,” said Harpy Sara Blakey.

The Harpies are a local creative writing group which regularly submits works in progress and provides feedback for each other.

“And honestly, mostly encouragement and enthusiasm,” said Williams. “So a lot of it is just ‘keep writing and don’t give up.’”

The six “core” Harpies — James Burke, Sara Blakey, Ken Roe, Gary Vaughan, Leslie Houghton, and Rod Williams — began talking last spring about doing something to bring the writing community together.

Once the idea for an anthology of local writers’ work was born, it was an eight-month project to collect and publish the works.

While the Harpies funded this first anthology themselves, they are hoping the proceeds from the book will help kickstart the next one and bring even more writers into the circle.

“With this anthology, we’re hoping to lure local writers out of the woodwork and to build a bit of a writer’s community,” said Harpy Ken Roe.

Readings at the Opal Center last weekend included an historical account of Bohemia Mining Days by Cindy Weeldreyer, a story of a brush with death from John Walls, life experience-inspired poems from Shannon Pool, a pet story by Andrea Hummel, veteran poetry by Bill Gunn (read by Ken Roe), a story of overcoming despair by Elaine Marie Burns, a snapshot of boyhood from J.A. “Tony” Martin, a story about a beloved car by Mary Sharon Moore and poetry about the magic times of dusk and dawn from Molly Nord.

“Language of Shadows” can be found locally at The Bookmine and Kalapuya Books or online at Amazon. The group can also be emailed directly at [email protected] for more information or book purchases.

The Harpies meet every other Friday at alternating venues.

More information about the Harpies can be found at www.cgharpies.com.

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