Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thank You to the Poetry People I Know - and the Ones I Don't

I know several people give thanks every Thursday on their blogs, but I am not a consistent type. Instead, today, I will give thanks times three or thanks to the third power. Maybe even the 4th power of thanks - we'll see.

First, thank you to Robin Becker, Poetry editor of the Women's Review of Books and poet extraordinaire. The current issue of the Women's Review of Books, published out of Wellesley College is a publication that deserves far more attention. As well as publishing poetry, the review consistently publishes articles on books concerning everything from Marilyn Monroe to the Urban Bush Women to photography. It's a smart, vibrant journal with high production value.

Next, thank you to the Whidbey Island Writers Conference coming up this very weekend. In addition to headliner Garth Stein, you've got the chance to see Lana Hechtman Ayers, Sheila Bender, Janna Esarey and Anjali Banerjee. This is my second time as a presenter at this conference and I'm looking forward to it. One thing that is unique to this conference are the Fireside Chats. Local islanders open their homes - and their hearts to host an intimate group of ten to twenty conference participants and (usually) three writers. There are a variety of different registration options -- know that a Fireside Chat is actually three different presenters!

Finally, I am feeling particularly thankful for my friend Kelli Russell Agodon. She is a poet, editor, teacher, and friend extraordinaire. For National Poetry Month, Kelli has initiated the Big Poetry Giveaway where poets across the blogosphere are giving away not only their books of poetry, but also a book by another author that they loved. You don't have to be a blogger or a poet to participate. Simply click here to see the list of participating poets and enter your name. Kelli is also my partner in crime for the first ever Poets on the Coast Weekend Writing Retreat for Women this coming September. If you haven't read her new book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, you really should.

It's good to have friends, journals, and conferences to be thankful for. I hope you've found something here to further explore -- be it a Weekend Retreat or a new writer.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Almost that Time - National Poetry Month Big Poetry Giveaway

Hurray for April; we're almost there! I don't know about anyone else, but for me, April tends to be a good deal more fun than my March. Of course this year, with a great trip to the University of Wisconsin - Madison to celebrate 50 Years of Africa and the Peace Corps - April is going to have to be outstanding!

To help the month get rolling, Kelli Russell Agodon, great poet and friend, is once again hosting the Big Poetry Giveaway at her blog, Book of Kells. I loved being part of this project last year and am signing up for a second time. Here's the deal: in the spirit of creativity and community, poets are giving away two books -- one of their own and one by a poet they love. All you need to do is leave a comment at the end of this post in order to be entered in the drawing.  The first giveaway is ejo - Poems Rwanda 1991-1994 by Derick Burleson. I have been an admirer of Derick's work for a long time and although we are Facebook friends and have one very dear friend in common, Madison was our first chance to spend time together.

If you've heard Derick read, you know he is charming, funny, and honest. He's also not too high falutin to get in the way back of a Subaru wagon when the situation calls for such measures. Derick read "Howdy" at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, WI and had the whole audience hanging on his every syllable - even the spaces in-between the syllables. In the morning Derick read "Remera Arrives" and told our audience the story of saving Remera's life - first with the gift of a rain jacket and eventually by helping him to get out of Rwanda to the United States. 

In case you haven't heard, there was a Rwandan Genocide in 1994 and these poems deal both with this as well as the years before this when Burleson was a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English. There are several persona poems in the collection such as "Remera Arrives." This is a book you need to read - and although there are heartbreaking poems -- there is also much joy. 

Houston, 1997

Oh my God what I have done? 
The climate, it is very hot here. 
All people, where they are?
I hear four millions living here. 
But I see no persons walking. 
There are many cars. All people have one.
Inside the house it is so cold. 
They call that conditioning air. 
Mostly all people stay inside.
Derick is grown fat and ballhead. 
And me too, I am fat now. 
During the war, I almost starved to die.
But now I let grow my dreadlocks. 
You must to have papers here before anything. 
That is same for my country.
Food here is fake. Everythings puts in cans. 
Cheeseburger is not real food. 
The air smells like l'essence. Barbeque is O.K.
For Fourth July they explode bombs
over the city, like back home
in Kigali on Liberation Day.
Me, I am learning slowly English. 
Here all people say Howdy to mean greetings. 
They smile at all the times. That is fake too.


And then they were all staring at me.
So I shout: This is a typical American greeting.
C'est une salutation typiquement Am'ricaine.
Please understand, this is the first day of school
and the year before, there was no school
because of the war, une ann'e blanche, a white year,
a blank year, and school was supposed to start
in September and it's October already, the first day
of school a month late, just when we've all begun
to wonder if school would start this year or not.
123 unpronounceable names, every first-year
pre-med student in Rwanda gathered here in this room
to learn from me all the English they'd ever need:
If a bomb went off it would be really tragic.
They throw wads of notepaper, gyrate their hips,
sing Mama We! whistle, sprint up and down the aisles,
leap from seat to plastic seat. I stumble down
each concrete step to the auditorium's bowels
as if I were descending the icy rungs of hell,
and they shriek at me in a language I can't understand:
Umuzungu urashaka iki? Umuzungu subira iwanyu!
White man what do you want? White man go home!
The microphones stainless steel lung looks like
something with which to club them into submission.
So I rear back and holler Howdy, sheer horror
takin' me back to that Oklahoma twang I thought
I'd done gone and give up fer good. And when
they holler back: How-Dee, it's an amazing grace.
So I do it again and so do they. All semester I howl
English and they bellow it back, the future doctors
of Rwanda chanting in unison: shinbone connected
to the kneebone, kneebone connected to the hipbone.
And by December when I meet them between classes
under the blossoms of the campus poinsettia, I say
Muraho and they say How-dee. I say Amakuru and they ask
How're ya'll doin? I say Nimeza and they say Jes fine.

                       ---  Derick Burleson 

In the spirit of the Peace Corps experience, I will also be giving away my first book, The Cartographer's Tongue / Poems of the World. Although the book is my first, I think I have to admit is also my favorite -- perhaps because of the Peace Corps poems. 

And here's a poem from this collection; another Peace Corps poem.
Lost By Way of Tchin-Tabarden by Susan Rich  
                                                                            Republic of Niger
Nomads are said to know their way by an exact spot in the sky,
the touch of sand to their fingers, granules on the tongue.

But sometimes a system breaks down. I witness a shift of light,
study the irregular shadings of dunes. Why am I traveling

this road to Zinder, where really there is no road? No service station
at this check point, just one commercant hawking Fanta

in gangrene hues. C'est formidable! he gestures --- staring ahead
over a pyramid of foreign orange juice.

In the desert life is distilled to an angle of wind, camel droppings,
salted food. How long has this man been here, how long

can I stay contemplating a route home?
It's so easy to get lost and disappear, die of thirst and longing

as the Sultan's three wives did last year. Found in their Mercedes,
the chauffeur at the wheel, how did they fail to return home

to Ágadez, retrace a landscape they'd always believed?
No cross-streets, no broken yellow lines; I feel relief at the abandonment

of my own geography. I know there's no surveyor but want to imagine
the aerial map that will send me above flame trees, snaking

through knots of basalt. I'll mark the exact site for a lean-to
where the wind and dust travel easily along my skin,

and I'm no longer satiated by the scent of gasoline. I'll arrive there
out of balance, untaught; ready for something called home.
Just leave a comment below and you will be entered in the Big Poetry Giveaway. Check out  Kelli's Book of Kells to see what other poets are participating! Maybe you will join in, too?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break and Story Corps: Coming Attraction!

It's wild to remember that this -- or something like it -- was my everyday experience twenty-five years ago. Just writing that makes me feel so old. How can this be? I don't even have grey hair! At the Peace Corps and Africa conference this weekend, I am bound to be confronted by old friends as well as a few former demons. My time in Niger ended with a bicycle accident --- for medical reasons I was flown out of Niger just shy of my two year commitment.

However, this weekend I am focused on remembering the positive aspects of my two years teaching, traveling,  and learning about life in a way I never could if I had stayed home. The poem below is what (I think) I will be reading this Saturday night at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, WI. Ironically, this week is also my spring break. The poem explores the multiple meanings behind an evening in Agadez, Niger that I shared with two other Volunteers and three Fulani Wodaabe men.

Spring Break

          Republic of Niger

It's a universal business that's brought them here,
into the night outside Agadez, into the ragged trimmings of light.

Past lean-tos of plaited mats, past fires that flare in an unfamiliar code
we follow these Wodaabe men — excited, raw nerved, enthralled.

What do they make of les Mademoiselles Américaine folded in dresses
as formless as millet sacks, skin the color of crusted goat cheese?

Do they mock Belinda's rosary of facts on Nigerien venereal disease,
laugh at Beverly's blue inked notes: A Chat with Nomadic Chiefs?

Lives away from the cas de passage, from the signposts and streets
of a set geography, we've been invited for tea and mangoes —

to breathe in the wood smoke that will linger on our clothes,
mix with the unmistakable sweet hum of the body.

Along the bench one of us, one of them, our heads bent back
to hoard the sky as the stars throw themselves into arcs

of persistent flight. Dari stretches his elegant limbs
and I discover fingertips on my thigh, an arm nestled against my ribs.

The men know the art of insinuation, know how to penetrate a woman
with their eyes, hold her beyond the palm of conversation,

no deception save desire. My thumbs hook into the edge of my sleeves,
but I'm just along for the view —  for the desert scent of truck exhaust and jasmine,

hibiscus with a tinge of extremity. Il n'y as pas d'etoiles chez vous? Dari asks
lifting his lashes to a bottle of Visine. His lipstick glistening, gold make-up

marking the rise of high boned cheeks.  Conversation fades
and I admire my date's slim hips, his winged shoulders,

poised, inviting. But too much memory offends. To him this is nothing new,
only a chance to see if it's true that Peace Corps girls will do for you presque tout.

Their offer it seems almost impolite to refuse, nous sommes trois et  trois,
but that's what I and Belinda and Beverly choose — we say no to pleasure,

to pairing off behind sand dunes. Say no to foreign hand-
stitched robes, to anything we wouldn't know how to undo.

From The Cartographer's Tongue, Poems of the World, White Pine Press, NY

The other very cool part of the weekend is that I will be joining Niger RPCV Jim Delehanty in a Story Corps Booth on Friday morning. Jim and I will meet for the first time since 1985 to interview each other about our Peace Corps experiences. How cool is that? I get to be part of history in a concrete way. The pressure is on to remember something profound from that time --- to remember specific students, or friends or just the smell of the air -- the different tastes. How everything was a mystery -- and still is. 

Here is more about Story Corps:

Our mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.  Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our broadcasts on public radio and the web.   Check it out!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Peace Corps Africa: Honoring 50 Years - This is Where I Will Be

The year I came back from Niger, was the 25th anniversary of the Peace Corps. I celebrated in Washington DC and kept in touch with a few Niger Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Years later, when I couldn't forget the people I'd met in Zinder, Niger, I wrote about them in The Cartographer's Tongue / Poems of the World. Now Peace Corps Africa is turning fifty and once again I'm going to be there to celebrate, this time as part of the program in Madison, Wisconsin. If you are in the area you can find me Saturday night at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Madison with Sandra Meek, Derek Burleson, and Anne Neelon -- all poet RPCVs who served in Africa. The event includes storytelling and film -- and is free and open to the public!

When I first heard I was going to Niger, I thought I was being posted to a river! Niger is the turquoise colored country above Nigeria and to the right of Mali, below Libya ... Fortunately, the area near the Libyan border is (or was) uninhabitable.  The country's shape resembles a fish - and as volunteers, we found this quite ironic as the country is land locked and the river nothing more than a dry bed - no fish.

These Fulani men are beautiful - and they know it! There are several different tribes among the Fulani and not all of them dress-up and paint their faces for beauty contests, but the Fulani men I knew did this. In Fulani culture, it is the men who do most of the primping and the women who judge the men on their looks. The gold line drawn down their faces accentuates the shape of the nose and the mascara of course highlights the eyes. The art of seduction is a key part of a man's power and these men work wonders with their eyes. While a volunteer, I ran an informal "free lunch" program out of my house. Over the course of two years, I came to know some of the young (as in pre-teen) Fulani boys quite well. I look at these photographs now wondering what became of Sa-a, Yabide, and Dari. As young boys, they were curious about everything in my house. They preferred Beatles songs to Bob Marley and loved the M & Ms that sometimes appeared in care packages from home.

The above photograph shows the "old city" of Zinder. The telephone wires led straight to the Sultan's home. The photograph below looks just like the Niger I remember: a strip of dust below a haze-filled sky. The streetlight, telephone wires, and width of the road all seem familiar as does the man on the mobilette. I'm looking forward to this weekend -- hopefully getting a chance to meet other Niger RPCVs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Caroline Kennedy and Me: She Walks in Beauty

I grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts -- birthplace of John F. Kennedy. Their family home, just outside of Coolidge Corner had become a museum by the time my family moved to town. The fact that I lived in the same town, that my father had hung a photograph of President Kennedy in his small study, made me feel that this was a family not that much different than my own. Some of my earliest childhood memories include watching Caroline and John-John with their parents on my family's black and white T.V.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was the first time I learned about death, the first time I saw my parents helpless, left without words to console me. I remember watching the funeral - my eyes focused on Caroline and her brother. I was four years old and I already understood how brave Caroline was, how strong she was in the face of this impossible nightmare. Perhaps because I was so young, I felt connected to the child that was Caroline - and her little brother whom I most certainly loved in the way only a little girl can. It's a bit embarrassing to admit this some 40+ years later...

I've now been a Peace Corps Volunteer, held a summer job at the Kennedy Library in Boston and worked on behalf of international human rights. I've written poetry because I believe in a world better than the one before us now -- and I can't help but wonder how much it all has to do with that one photograph in my father's study; the one brave little girl holding her brother's hand at her father's funeral.

So when I received a call from Jamie FitzGerald of Poets and Writers asking if I'd read for the book launch of she walks in beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems, selected and introduced by caroline kennedy - I was thrilled. Now that I'm reading the book, I am even happier. Elizabeth Bishop, Nazim Hikmet, Constantine P. Cavafy (a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy's), Sappho and Anne Sexton are all here. The genesis of the book (according to the book copy) is that when Caroline Kennedy turned fifty, a few of her girlfriends sent her poems as a way of celebration. That these poems pay tribute to the human experience.

Each of the book's sections: Falling in Love, Making Love, Breaking Up, Marriage, Work, Growing Old, Death, Solitude, Friendship, and How to Live (as well as a few others) are introduced by Kennedy in a friendly, down-to-earth voice. It's as if she sits down right next to her reader, offering us a way to live a meaningful life. That sounds a bit too grand - and at the same time - very simple in the way that a friend might offer advice on how to deal with love or with parenting or to offer support during a divorce.

At 7:00 PM on Sunday, April 17th, I will read from she walks in beauty along with my dear friend Kathleen Flenniken and local poets Jourdan Imani Keith, Rebecca Loudon, and Coleen McEllroy at the UVillage Barnes and Noble. We will each read a poem from the anthology and then a few poems of our own. The event is sponsored by Poets & Writers

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Art of the Tablecloth - Elizabeth Bishop in MR

Many thanks to poet and translator, Ren Powell, for alerting me to the Missouri Review blog post just published on Elizabeth Bishop's paintings. Here are some quotes that resonate with me. I hadn't thought of the imperfection of the paintings as much as how filled with joy they seem to be. Stefanie Worfman's comments on the tracing out of the electrical wires seems so in keeping with Bishop's poems - especially one I have been re-reading lately,  "It is Marvelous" - a love poem Bishop chose not to publish - and that has come to her fans only years after her death.

From the Missouri Review blog post by Stefani Worfman:

One reason I go back to Bishop over and over is for her meditation on imperfection. The failures in her poems may be minor, but these instances of weakness, pettiness, and provincialism feel more familiar—uncomfortably familiar—than large-scale tragic faults.  While the visual art doesn’t lend itself to ethical questions quite as the poems do, Bishop regularly paints in the flawed and unbeautiful.  The paintings seem almost gleeful, for example, in tracing out power lines and electrical cords, an impulse that undermines the apparently decorative additions of flowers and tablecloths.

You can find, "It is Marvelous" in She Walks in Beauty - a lovely new anthology of poems selected and introduced by caroline kennedy. More on this wonderful collection coming soon...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Writing, Printing, Binding in Seattle - Letterpress Class w/John Marshall

If only there was time in life for what's really important. This looks like a superb class by great people. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Writing Printing Binding
A letterpress printed book collaboration

  • 6:30 PM–8:30 PM
  • Monday, 4/4/11–6/13/11
  • $495

Join beloved local poet J.W. (John) Marshall of Open Books and legendary letterpress printer Jules Remedios Faye for an inspirational writing, printing, and book binding class in the School of Visual Concepts’ letterpress studio. John will lead students through the creative writing process, focusing on use of the image in short poetry or prose pieces appropriately sized for in-class letter press printing. Jules will instruct students in the magic of printing and hand-binding. The end result will be a collaborative limited-edition hand-printed, hand-bound book which includes a piece by each student.
Anyone who wishes to experience the pleasure of typesetting their own words and creating an original edition.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A New Press on the Block: Welcome to Ashland Creek Press!

Ashland Creek in Ashland, Oregon

This just in! My friend and fiction writer, Midge Raymond author of Forgetting English has just co-founded Ashland Creek Press which will publish a large range of books from short stories, to eco-literature, to travel literature. You might recognize Midge from the book trailer she did "We Need to Talk to You About Your Amazon Numbers" which went viral all over the web last fall. I know that this new venture will be a success. There's a frequently asked questions page that will tell you all the nuts and bolts. Congratulations to Midge and John.

Welcome to Ashland Creek Press

Ashland Creek Press is a small, independent publisher of books with a world view. From travel stories to eco-literature, our mission is to publish a range of books, as well as short stories and articles, that foster an appreciation for worlds outside our own, the animal kingdom, and the ways in which we all connect.
We are currently accepting submissions; please click here for more information.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Last Chance for Ekphrasis Workshop: Friday, April 1st

Honestly, no fooling! Join me at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference  for a three hour "Speaking Pictures" ekphrastic workshop Friday, April 1st. I have taught this workshop two previous times and I think this third time will be my last - at least for awhile.

This is my second time teaching at the Whidbey Conference and I'm looking forward to it. In addition to the three hour workshop on Friday,  I will be presenting two fireside chats on Saturday, April 2nd on the topics of "Working with the Mentor You Will Never Meet" and "Poetry and Community."

Garth Stein is the keynote speaker at the conference and there will be several agents and editors on hand to meet with. Whidbey Island is a beautiful spot -- extremely accessible from Seattle. It's not too late to join in. Other writers teaching at the conference include Lana Ayers, Sheila Bender and Janna Eswrey.

Check out all the details here! On Sunday there is also a day devoted to publishing your manuscript.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

South African Poet: Ingrid de Kok - Ground Wave

Ground waves refer to the propagation of radio waves close to the surface of the earth. In this poem by Ingrid de Kok the ground wave seems to be taking the psychic temperature of this one middle class geography, and perhaps by extension, South Africa. Lemon trees, oleander shrubs, and scorpions all contain their own sort of poison -- beautiful but deadly. 

I lived in South Africa for 18 months in the mid 1990's. I had been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study South African poetry. Ingrid de Kok was one of the poets I studied and eventually came to know. Her fourth book, Seasonal Fires was published in the United States by Seven Stories Press. Part Elizabeth Bishop, part Adrienne Rich, part Wallace Stevens -- she's a poet you should know.

Ground wave

Just below the cottage door
our moraine stairway of lemon trees,
strelitzia quills and oleander shrub
steps to the sea and deeper terraces.
The warming wind, concertina on the slope,
coaxes open the bulbul’s throat,
the figtree’s testicular green globes
and camellia’s white evening flux.
Behind the house we feel
the mountain’s friction against our backs.
Deep fissures are predicted by the almanac,
earth and trees heaving to the shore.
Scorpions come in at night
for cool killings on the flagstone floor.

Ingrid de Kok, from Transfer

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happiness is Vital: Irish AIDS WEST Journal Gets It Right


My good friend and great poet (and fiction writer) Geraldine Mills introduced me to this excellent organization and the only-one-of-its-kind newsletter, Happiness is Vital. Geraldine Mills is the author of The Weight of  Feathers  and An Urgency of Stars both available in the US from the University of Syracuse Press. I reviewed An Urgency of Stars right here last year.

Until recently, Geraldine's day job was working for AIDS West. The organization and the journal seem so, well, different, than what we usually see in terms of AIDS organizations in the US. This journal brings patients, caregivers, nurses and doctors together and works to address all of their interests which seem to come down to one thing: happiness is vital.

AIDS West provides a free quarterly newsletter titled Happiness is Vital to all its HIV positive clients, 
GPs, hospitals and health centres. 

It is also sent to other sexual health services in Ireland and any member of the general public who requests it.  Arts West is always looking for new and interesting articles in relation to HIV/sexual health so if you wish to contribute an article we would be delighted to hear from you. Maximum word count for story/article is 700 words. The editorial team reserves the right to edit where necessary. 

To contribute to Happiness is Vital: 
Contact Tracey @ 00353 (0)91 566266 or

My three poems are in the December 2010 (just arrived in the US!) issue, but you can download each issue by clicking here. Here's one of the three - not available elsewhere on the web.

Awaiting Further Instruction

This is the easy time – a cup of tea,
mandarins and chocolates.
Take a millennium and gaze
over the pine and periwinkle fence line.
decipher the cat’s song, the plane’s thrum,
the soft moans of ink along paper.
Settle into the sofa with pillows, in book arbor;
this is you, forty-eight, the day after Thanksgiving.
The heat up, the rest of life not
yet beaten into hours, the next thought
still balanced on the ledge of something
new – like a doorframe – a place
for change – if only one could…
And here is the sky Novembered to a gauzy blue;
the olympics flickering a northwest winter truth.
But what then? When come the afternoons
of arias; ascendance of the jasmine’s creamy flowers?
The future self apprised of her red carpet entrance:
held up – postponed – appearing soon ~

                                   Susan Rich, from The Alchemist's Kitchen

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Can You Prove You Are an American? Our World Has Gone Awry

US agrees to pay wrongly detained citizen $400,000

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $400,000 to an American citizen and Army veteran from Washington state who was locked up for seven months while immigration officials wrongly tried to deport him.
Associated Press
The U.S. government has agreed to pay $400,000 to an American citizen and Army veteran from Washington state who was locked up for seven months while immigration officials wrongly tried to deport him.
Rennison Castillo was transferred to the Northwest Detention Center in 2005 when he finished serving a jail sentence for violating a protection order and harassment. The native of Belize explained repeatedly that he had become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1998 while serving in the Army, but neither Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials nor an immigration judge believed him. He was finally released after the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Seattle attorneys took up his case on appeal.
"ICE officers did not listen to me when I told them repeatedly that I was a U.S. citizen and had served in the Army at Fort Lewis," he said in a statement released Thursday. "They were disrespectful and told me that I would say anything to get out of detention."
The government gave him a letter of apology written by the assistant U.S. attorney in Tacoma who handled the case.
"I believe that none of my clients ... would ever have wanted to, or knowingly would have, detained a veteran and a United States citizen," Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Lynch wrote. "We very much regret that you were detained."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the agency now vets the citizenship claims of detainees much more closely, and if such claims appear credible, detainees are released.
In 2009, The Associated Press documented cases of 55 U.S. citizens wrongly detained by U.S. immigration officials in the past decade, including Castillo. Immigration lawyers believe there were hundreds more.
"Like other immigration detainees faced with deportation, Mr. Castillo was not entitled to a court-appointed attorney, and he could not afford to hire a private attorney," the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project said in a written statement.
In late 2009, a federal judge denied the government's motion to dismiss Castillo's lawsuit, which he filed in 2008.
Castillo, 33, of Lakewood, came to the United States at age 6 and later became a permanent lawful resident. He was sworn in as a citizen during his seven-year stint in the Army, which ended with his honorable discharge in 2003.
Castillo's case was complicated by the fact that his immigration files listed two names and misspelled versions of his first and last name. He also didn't have immediately family in the area to call for help.

Local News | US agrees to pay wrongly detained citizen $400,000 | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | US agrees to pay wrongly detained citizen $400,000 | Seattle Times Newspaper

When Will the Lion Become a Lamb?

This is what I am waiting for; this is what I need. The scent of daphne is starting to meet me on the front walk and there are a few buds on the cherry blossoms next door, but I am in need of flowers today!