Bill Ransom: The Lost Tapes and the Moonlit Dig Videos



The gray on gray on gray speck on his screen enlarged to a sprawling community at the northernmost tip of a peninsula on a peninsula. A two-lane road separated cranberry bogs on one side from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Canadian islands on the other. The Strait, the road, the roofs on the buildings and the sky oozed gray. Sand dunes, gravel driveways, budding alders and willows all framed the blood-red cranberry bogs in that somber, gray veil. A tongue of white fog licked at the red heart of the bog.

From the novel, Brother Blood Sister Death


Bill Ransom: Video Story of the Poet and Novelist

The Lost Tapes and the Moonlit Dig Videos

This video essay is part poetry reading, part biography and interview. Its existence is partly due to the 10-year disappearance of the four-part recording of Ransom's The War Baby prior to its publication by Blue Begonia Press, and in part to a friendship developed over four decades, held together initially through conversations on poetry, writing and teaching.

"You keep us on the run. I keep us alive."

Bill Ransom: A Satisfying Diversion

Filmed at the poet and fiction writer's home in Grayland, Washington, and at the nearby town and beach at Westport, Ransom talks about writing and how nature and science become collaborators. Looking at kelp on the beach, he explores kelp's possibilities in his early fiction, while reading from his Grayland home. February, 2018.

Bill Ransom The Lost Tapes 2008-2018


 The Lost Tapes 2008-2018 The Woman and the War Baby Part I 

Filmed reading never seen by anyone. Technological problems combined with computer difficulties combined with daily life until January 2018. Bill Ransom's final pre-publication reading and conversation with Jim Bodeen at Blue Begonia Press in Yakima, Washington. Poems and stories. Visceral at birth and re-birth. Part 1 of 4 Parts.

Bill Ransom: The Lost Tapes Part II--My Particular Scenery

 The Lost Tapes 2008-2018 Part II My Particular Scenery

Never before seen video of Bill Ransom's reading of The Woman and the War Baby, with Jim Bodeen at Blue Begonia Press, in Yakima, WA during summer, 2008. Surfaced recording restored in January, 2018, Ransom, poet and novelist in his visceral prime. This video includes a partial reading of Trillium.

"Don't consider the source. Consider the advice."

Bill Ransom: The Lost Tapes Part III--Trillium

The Lost Tapes 2008-2018 Visceral Conversation Part III

Trillium is a critical piece in understanding the work of Bill Ransom. Conversation with Jim Bodeen in the Bodeen home during 2008. This video has been lost from the date of the recording until its first-birth in 2018. Trillium is included in Ransom's The Woman and the War Baby from Blue Begonia Press. 

Bill Ransom: The Lost Tapes--Part IV--Walking the Same Beach

Walking the Same Beach The Lost Tapes 2008-2018 Part IV

Ransom concludes his final pre-publication reading of The Woman and the War Baby, from 2008. This reading disappeared the day it was made, and has been restored and re-created in 2018. Walking the same beach is the one that travels up the Americas from the late 1980s until today and beyond. Bill Ransom is a poet of witness and remembering.

Razor Clam Dig With Bill Ransom

 Ransom takes Immigrant Rights Workers from Central Washington State on a moonlit clam dig at Grayland Beach, Grayland, Washington. Storytelling and breakfast included. This video includes an apple pie poem by Jim Bodeen along with an empty pie plate.

"Survival, not satisfaction."

Passages in quotations from the novel Brother Blood Sister Death




            For Bill Ransom, Magaly Solis,

            Laura Armstrong & Karen Bodeen


After a wedding, this walk on the beach,

But not before a tutorial. Bill says, This

Is a clam gun, the one that looks like a shovel.

This is an aluminum tube, and this, same thing, plastic—


And this is the Pacific Ocean. Stop

At Grayland Hardware, pick up three-day permits

And text Bill we’re bringing two abrecaminos,

Pathbreakers, from La Casa Hogar,


Immigrant rights and citizenship programers,

To the clam dig. Can he help.

Never turn your back on the ocean, Bill says.

Face the ocean when you dig.


Fifteen clams is the limit. You must

Take everything, large, small, or broken.

If you hit a shell, pull back, and slurry

The shovel. Magaly is from Guerrero,


South of Oaxaca. Laura’s east coast.

Boots, lantern, head lamps.

Rain lets up. Bill shows us

How to walk the beach, look for


Sand indentions locating the clams.

We each limit. Bill talks Bolt decision,

Indian Treaty Rights, 1856. Sustainability

And give and take. He shows us how


To clean clams, links to Fish and Wildlife

And recipes for cooking. Over breakfast

He talks about jobs a novelist takes

To apprentice for the world. Short order


Cook who must eat what he poorly prepares.

Fifty pounds of hash browns, too?

Jack Benny and Bob Harrah.

El Salvador, FMLN, peace treaties.


Bill talks noun and verb. I’ve known

His poems as long as I’ve known Bill—

40+ years. His way of engagement

And retreat. His witness and his way


In the wild. Since the water pump gave out

In the Toyota going through Yakima.

His cats—Number One and Number Two,

Brothers.  At breakfast, Bill has brought


Signed books for Magaly and Laura,

Including Learning the Ropes,

Fires and medicine. Colonial terrorism.

Bill recognizes these two young women.


Their work, liberation, is the same work as his.

They’ve taken identical vows.

This is service work, guerilla training.

Low tide at night, under cover,


Not 24 hours. Retreat. Renewal.

Wild west coast. Survival training

Not for the resume. Cleaning clams.

Ancestral nurturing, beginnings in sand.


Jim Bodeen

21-28 September 2020

Writing with Ransom
After Razor Clam Moon Dig
Dark Clarity Stamp

Scissors, knife, water

Sand rinse, clip gills for two cats

Birds eat guts on beach

5 October 2020

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