Literary Event of the Week: Woodland at Open Books

Not too long ago, August was the month that made living in Seattle worthwhile. You were guaranteed beautiful weather pretty much from the first day of August to the last: blue skies, comfortably warm weather, and incredibly long days that seemed to never end.

Now, of course, August has become the worst month of the year. Every August, the city is choked in a brown-and-orange haze of wildfire smoke that forces us indoor and harms the weakest of us. It's hot and smelly and uncomfortable and ugly, and it's all our fault for letting climate change get to this point. And fire season seems to be starting earlier and earlier — I caught a whiff of smoke on a hazier-than-normal Seattle day just within the last month.

Seattle author and publisher Knox Gardner's new poetry collection Woodland is about our wildfire crisis. It was written over a period of time stretching from the 2017 British Columbia fires to the fiery death of Paradise, California, and it is solely interested in mapping out this new normal for our region.

Woodland is an angry book, and it's sad, and it's heartbroken. It's the story of a paradise that's dragged a little bit closer to death. The book features a score written by Aaron Otheim that updates 19th century composer Edward MacDowell's chamber music piece "Woodland Sketches" for a modern audience and a dystopian future. Gardner will be in attendance at this event, in Seattle's tiny cathedral to poetry.

Open Books, 2414 N. 45th St, 633-0811,, 5 pm, free.