ourteen years ago this December, Krayna Castlebaum began a poetic journey in Bend. Gathering at The Women's Resource Center, Castlebaum curated an evening of hand-selected seasonal poems shared out loud.
"It was exhilarating," Castlebaum remembers fondly. It was an evening that has launched many more that Castlebaum has appropriately named "Poetic Journeys."
Castlebaum, a local artist and transformational coach, describes herself as "self-taught" when it comes to poetry. Her first introduction in school left her uninspired and confused. In her early 20s she began to find work that spoke to her and she was hooked.
"Sometimes, I ask people, 'flap your wings if you had a bad first date with poetry,' and I'm like, 'yeah, I was right there with you!" It is this understanding of how one can feel isolated from the world of art that makes Castlebaum's poetry readings so enjoyable.
You can find Castlebaum spreading her love of poetry at the Bend Art Center. "You do not have to think of yourself as an artist; you just have to go with a curious mind," Castlebaum says of the nonprofit that houses A6 print studio, a gallery space and an education program that brings the arts to children and adults.
Along with her Poetic Journey evenings, Castlebaum is also the MC of the "Creative Feasts," evenings of food, wine, poetry, art and music, twice a year. For her 15th Poetic Journey this season, Castlebaum will hold court at The Lubbesmeyer Art Studio & Gallery in Bend's Old Mill. The event is a fundraiser for the Three Rivers Humane Society. Attendees can bring canned goods or winter coats, which Castlebaum will take to a local shelter. The evenings are not about making money. No one is turned away for lack of funds. As Castlebaum puts it, "A big time donor can be considered someone who brings their big heart and an openness to connect."
With so many ways to give this season, poetry can offer the opportunity for connecting and understanding. "I don't know what's going on with that guy in the red truck that cut me off on the parkway. I don't know anyone else's experience. Poetry helps me to mediate that," Castlebaum explains. Find Castlebaum's "poem of the month" on her website, or in her customized Poem Box on Union Street.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been changed from the original version to reflect Castlebaum being the MC, not the host, of the Creative Feasts.