Inhabiting Edges

February 1, 2012

     Tod Marshall is a professor of English at Gonzaga University. He earned his MFA from Eastern Washington University and his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He has published collections of poetry (The Tangled Line, 2009; Dare Say, 2002), interviews (Range of the Possible, 2002), and a collected anthology of poetry (Range of Voices, 2005). He has received awards from the Washington Artist Trust and was the 2002 winner of the University of Georgia’s Contemporary Poetry Series.

      The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, in alliance with Terrain, hosted a literary event last November. The collaborative event was aptly titled: Spokane Words. Poets, waiting to grace the stage, milled around with the rest of the attendees. Electronic music duo Oread and DJ Benjamin Jorgens provided opening ambiance. Modern art installations inhabited every corner.

      The first poet on stage was the emcee of the evening, Tod Marshall. Listening to his introductions, Virgins of Tod’s Poetry were probably thinking, wow, this guy must know what he’s doing, whereas those more familiar with his poetry already knew, this guy not only knows what he’s doing, he’s going to do it again. Tod made it clear his introductions were meant “not to receive individual poets and artists,” stating, “We are here to recognize poetry and art.” His preludes became poems themselves, objects inviting impressions . . .The words he used were chosen with intention, not because he could choose, but because, we like to think, he cared to, cared to:

“ . . . find art that affects so deeply, art that speaks to us as if from the cells. To put it / another way: to find and inhabit language in places where necessity begins to outweigh desire; / that is a scale in which an ecopoetics might seek to weigh the world . . . ”

We asked Tod about origin, art, and the state of literature in Spokane . . .



What does place mean? How does origin relate to art?


To in-habit is to “dwell in,” to live deliberately in place. One’s origination (origin, original) is not possible without inhabitation. That is, “To rise, become [...]

Read more of our conversation with Dr. Marshall on origin, borders, and boundaries in No. 1 Place / Displaced.


Marshall, T. (2011). Statement. Interim Magazine, 29. Print.


Editorial by  Rebecca Chadwell. Conversation with J.W. Trull.
Photo by J.W. Trull.

Related posts:

  1. Each Fragment Introduces Its Difference
  2. The Place of Shape
  3. A Doorway to Fiction with Jennifer Egan

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