on poetry

October 25, 2016

John Berryman 
“You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise you’re merely imitating yourself, going nowhere, because that’s always easiest.”
John Berryman
(October 25, 1914 – January 7, 1972)
. . . . .
photo by by Tom Berthiaume

come hear Mike

October 24, 2016

Mighty Mike McGee

Mark your calendar: Spoken word performer Mighty Mike McGee (& friends) will grace the stage at The Green Frog in Bellingham, Washington, on Sunday, November 6, 2016. A powerhouse of the spoken word, Mike will “make you laugh and then just as easily leave you to fend for yourself in an ocean of your own tears. He’s a master of manipulating the very things that put us all together and make us human.”

Among Mike’s achievements, he is the winner of both the National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Championship AND the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship. He has toured nearly a million miles as a performer and speaker.

Watch the event page on Facebook for details and come hear Mike on November 6.

Willow Trees*

October 23, 2016

Willow Trees by Winter Gariss
2016 Walk Award
By Winter Gariss (11th grade)

Wandering willows weep and wallow with wonder,
Idealistic breeze indigenous to the infamous trees.
Nature nurtures their nostalgic leaves while new
Trees become tied together throughout
Endless roots entangled under ebony earthen soil
Rounded rough bark reaches up and royal
Green leaves gallantly gleaming in the
Atmosphere. Almost aligned with the
Round radiant stars romantic in the night.
Icy and incapacitating beauty of
Snow softly slipping sideways in to the willow’s arms
So soundly sleeping, the world will stay.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Winter Gariss. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Tonight in Bellingham!

October 22, 2016

Mount Baker Theatre

It’s not often that this particular blogger steps out from behind the veil of anonymity, but if not now, when? I am the very grateful recipient of the 2016 Ken Warfel Fellowship, established to distinguish and reward those poets who, like Ken Warfel, have made substantial contributions to their poetry communities. This blog, The Poetry Department, which I launched in July 2010 (today’s post is the 2,253rd), is a significant part of that contribution.

It would be an honor and a pleasure to see you in the audience this evening, Saturday, October 22, 2016, at the award ceremony. The doors open at 6:45pm and events get underway at 7:00pm. Please join me at the Mount Baker Theatre, Encore Room, 104 North Commercial Street, Bellingham, Washington. (Use the Champion Street door to enter the Encore Room.) Hope to see you there!

rescuing December

October 21, 2016

Two Sylvias Press Online Advent Calendar of Poetry Prompts

Two Sylvias Press is prepared to give your December a poetry-writing boost. ​The brand new Two Sylvias Press Advent Calendar is filled with surprise prompts to help you write 31 new poems in December! Get the details and sign up at Two Sylvias Press (and while you’re there, check out the other swell stuff in the Two Sylvias Store).

(Not to steal any thunder from Two Sylvias, but if you happen to be an advent calendar nut, you might also want to skibble over to The 2016 Short Story Advent Calendar.)

poetry on film

October 20, 2016


Soda Pictures (UK) is about to release a new film, Paterson, which follows the story of Paterson, a poet and bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. Directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani, the film is due in theaters November 25, 2016. Watch for it.

good news

October 19, 2016

NEA Big Read

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Big Read encourages and supports community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the program has for the first time added poetry titles to its list of books: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1999-2002 by Joy Harjo, and Book of Hours by Kevin Young.

The NEA Big Read offers a variety of programming nationwide, from family events and book discussion groups to theatrical adaptations, movie screenings, and more. Watch for news of NEA Big Read poetry in your community!

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