countdown

February 27, 2015

countdownHow’s your haiku? If you were participating in National Haiku Writing Month and lost your way, you have a couple more days to catch up before NaHaiWriMo ends. Of course, the prompts will continue (including prompts for the month of March by Paul David Mena) and there’s plenty of other inspiring stuff on the NaHaiWriMo site, Tumblr and Facebook.

As NaHaiWriMo winds down, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is about to start up, with submissions accepted beginning Sunday, March 1, through Tuesday, March 31, 2015. If you live in Whatcom County, Washington, read the guidelines and send in your poems!

on language

February 26, 2015

Victor Hugo by Étienne Carjat_1876Car le mot, c’est le Verbe, et le Verbe, c’est Dieu.”
(For the word is the Verb, and the Verb is God.)
Victor Hugo
(February 26, 1802 – May 22, 1885)
. . . . .
Victor Hugo by Étienne Carjat 1876

Poetry: language in common

February 25, 2015

KPLU photo by Monica Spain

Have a look at Monica Spain’s short article and KPLU sound clip describing a poetry slam that gives voice to both Seattle Pacific University students and residents of the (for the moment) on-campus tent city.
. . . . .
photo by Monica Spain

Reasons to go to… Scotland

February 24, 2015

StAnza Poetry 2015

There are surely many reasons to go to Scotland. Here are a couple.

Should you find your calendar clear next week, hie thee over to St Andrews, Fife, for the 18th annual StAnza International Poetry Festival, which runs March 4-8, 2015 (with additional workshops on March 3). Each StAnza is organized around two themes; this year’s themes are Unfinished Business and An Archipelago of Poetry. The lineup of poets is impressive and sure to be inspiring. Much more information is available on the StAnza website.

If dashing off to Scotland next week isn’t on your agenda, don’t despair. There is hardly a square kilometer of Scottish soil that hasn’t been commemorated in poetry…and it is all being mapped! The Scotland Poetry Map (a project of StAnza 2014) is a geographic guide to the poetic voice of Scotland. Take it along on your next trip. See it on the StAnza Blog.

More StAnza Poetry on Facebook.

the daily 500

February 23, 2015

Jeff Goins -- My 500 words

You may already have heard of Jeff Goins. He blogs about writing and blogging. A while back, in the vein of NaPoWriMo and NaNoWriMo, he challenged writers to make a commitment to write 500 words a day for 31 days. There are no deadlines. It’s up to the writer to set a beginning date.

Goins suggests blogging the daily 500 and linking your blog to his challenge page, which, so far, 1842 writers have done. The challenge is here: My 500 words. You can also join a My 500 words Facebook group for accountability and encouragement.

Whether you choose to participate in Goins’s challenge, to write poetry or prose, to write 500 words or 250 or 1000, the concept is good: make a commitment and write every day. Don’t edit; don’t censor; just write. Then set the words aside; resist the compulsion to read them over and over; let them rest. After some time has gone by, go back and read what you wrote as if it was written by someone else. Let the editing begin.

this afternoon in Seattle!

February 22, 2015

Cirque at Wikstrom

It’s a gorgeous day…for poetry in Seattle. Come by the Wikstrom Gallery, 5411 Meridian Avenue North, at 2:00pm today, Sunday, February 22, 2015, to hear voices from the latest edition of Cirque Journal, including Joannie Stangeland, Craig Smith, Carey Taylor, Merridawn Duckler, Claudia Ferriz Green, Ali Stewart-Ito, Lyn Coffin and Sandra Kleven.

talking about poetry…

February 21, 2015

POETRY

Peter Messinger is on the faculty of the University of Washington English Language Program and has been teaching English as a Second Language for 35 years. Also a poet, he was one of the readers at SpeakEasy 15: Poems and Prayers for the New Year. In an email, he shared this “experience I had with my pronunciation class today” (presented here with his permission):

To establish pausing and rhythm, I’ve been having them prepare and read “Occupation,” which you’ll remember I read at SpeakEasy a few weeks back. I didn’t tell them who wrote it and they really did it justice (we recorded them).

After they read it, I had them tell me what they thought it meant; 7 people had 7 different interpretations, all of which showed me they were really listening to themselves. One Saudi man got it dead on and connected it to what’s happening to his generation in the Middle East, and a Chinese man connected it to Hitler. A Thai woman was convinced it was about parents talking to their children. Korean students said it had to do with cultural imperialism (they told me a story about how their generation is the one I was describing as the victims of “propaganda” — their term).

Then they said I had to read it, which I did. Finally someone asked who had written it and I confessed. They were blown away and spontaneously started applauding. Anyway, on the way out they thanked me for letting them read my poem aloud. I thanked them for being an audience and holding up the mirror for me.

It was just one of those unexpected successes we get surprised by. A teaching moment, is what we call it in the business.

Thank you, Peter. A poem speaks in many languages.

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