Oregon Magazine

Oregon Fever Features Northwest Authors
 By Fred Delkin
     The work of the Pacific Northwest's finest freelance writers is celebrated in a just-published anthology, "Oregon Fever."  This is a collection of Northwest writing published from 1965-1982 in the Sunday Oregonian's Northwest Magazine and features the work of nationally published authors, including Ivan Doig, Barry Lopez. Don Berry, Larry Colton and our (Oregon Magazine)   wordsmith Larry Leonard.
The assembled essays cover noted personalities, historic events, memorable places, issues, the arts, and humor indigenous to this corner of the continental USA.  Portland author and playwright Charles Deemer edited this work, published by Portland's Avellino Press under the aegis of Joe Bianco, editor of Northwest Magazine throughout all but the final extremity of its existence.
"About 45 miles north of the most livable city in the United States is hell.  I know.  I saw it"...these words penned by Bianco following a flight over the Mt. St. Helens eruption zone are a sample of what readers will find in this entertaining, absorbing volume.  The Portland Trailblazers' NBA title
season...the ever-so-sane thoughts of the late Governor Tom McCall...the seven naturqal wonders of Oregon...these topics and many more are covered.  As Bianco stated in a Preface, "Enjoy some of the young, upcoming authors...some of whom eventually reached national acclaim and to this day are writing some of the best literature in America.:
Our own Larry Leonard is represented by "Thurman Street Thoreau" (profile of a cobbler), "Let's Not Overreact" (interviews still pertinent to American traumas of the moment) and "The Creation of Oregon" (humor regarding the late Tom McCall).  Speaking of Governors, noted short story writer Rick Rubin has created "My Gubernator Platform" for his proposed entry into the political arena, with "the first thing I would do is install enormous rolls of barbed wire all around the state."  Rubin also offers a rabble-rousing diatribe on why Westside Portland is the only true Portland when compared to "the vast, sprawling Eastside...flatland of homes and manufacturing plants...minor hild and garish shopping centers..."
Family ruminations
Former Oregonian book and poetry editor Paul Pintarich presents a poignant piece "Who Are These People?" which reflects upon the changing American family mode now that families no longer live together and both seniors and the young too soon become displaced.  This topic is also explored by journalist Art Chenoweth who laments "...the family has lost to the state all its
political functions, most of its economic functions and almost all of its educational functions."
National Book Award winner Barry Lopez laments that "We are intimidated and browbeaten by sudden, self-proclaimed experts, lectured to by bandwagon politicians, pacified by misleading advertising and left, in the end, confused."
Reflect with Ivan Doig on his "repeated journey to the edge of myself that is also the edge of the land world...to the exhilaration of the winter ocean."  The late novelist Don Berry writes of "Kulture in Apathyville," a less than complimentary dissection of Portland media..."if newspapers do it badly, television and radio don't even bother...broadcast has the inestimable advantage that their own sins are magically swept away when you turn the set off, while print remains."
Absence deserves mourning
"Oregon Fever" is a striking reminder that Northwest Magazine was a literary treasure and deserves to be mourned.  This anthology reawakens the distinguished panoply of pensmen's pertinent thoughts on what sets this lefthand corner of the continent apart from other regions.
In addition to the collected essays, this volume includes brief "Excerpts from Noteworthy Stories" that further define each section of The People, The Place, Issues & Concerns, Sports, History & Nostalgia and The Arts and spotlight the thoughts of additional writers.
The magazine's editor Bianco says "I loved the magazine and I knew it was loved by the readers.  The reader was my critic, the one I looked to...if I satisfied the reader I was doing what I had been assigned to do."
Seek this literary lode from your nearest bookshop.  Visit the publisher's web site (Avellino.blogspot.com )

© 2005 Oregon Magazine