2011*

August 25, 2019


2019 Walk Award
By Bella Flynn-Mendoza, Grade 12

Boxes of hunger sit in our cabinets
untouched
no one cooks here anymore
my stomach cries for love

Tiredness overflows the kitchen sink
it was my turn to wash the dishes
but no one paid the water bill

Across the street a happy
childhood plays on the swing
laughing with her mother

In our house laughter is a lore
our mother is the putrid perfume
of Marlboro
and happiness won’t be birthed

until tomorrow

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Bella Flynn-Mendoza. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

. . . . .
Bella Mendoza is a student that is new to poetry. She has never been published and this is her first contest. She will be graduating from Squalicum High School this year and plans to attend Seattle University in the fall. She lives in Bellingham with her grandparents, uncles and cousin.

“2011” was written about a tough time in Bella’s life that she has been thankful to work through. She hopes that writing about her experience will bring hope to others in similar situations.

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HNA sizzles

August 24, 2019

This is a guest post by Michael Dylan Welch.
Photo by Garry Gay.

I’ve just returned from the 15th biennial Haiku North America conference, which took place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from August 7 to 11, 2019. A huge bow of thanks to Bob Moyer who led the local organizing committee.

This year’s conference featured many dozens of presentations, readings, workshops, a conference anthology titled Sitting in the Sun (which I coedited with Crystal Simone Smith, with artwork by Kate MacQueen), a banquet with honky-tonk music and dancing, a memorial reading for haiku poets who had died in the last two years, dance performances, tours of nearby historical sites (Reynolda House and Old Salem), an insect walk, letterpress printing workshops, writing sessions, my own haiku workshop for beginners, a book fair that sold more than $8,000 worth of haiku books, a silent auction, HNA-branded T-shirts and tote bags, a contest for haiku printed on a custom artisan chocolate bar (won by Terri L. French with “slowly melting / a square of chocolate / on my lover’s tongue”), and more. You can view the complete schedule on the Haiku North America website. And in case you might think haiku poets are a stodgy and conservative bunch, a dozen of them even went skinny-dipping in the hotel pool on the Saturday night. We have pictures.

Standout events included readings by haiku poets with recently published haiku books, Kala Ramesh visiting from India and sharing haiku activities in India (including dance charades where we tried to guess which haiku was being performed), a renku performance led by Issa translator David G. Lanoue, late-night collaborative renku writing, a panel about Haiku Society of America activities, an academic presentation by Richard Gilbert on philopoetics (poetic-philosophical exploration) and diversity in haiku, my celebration of National Haiku Writing Month, and the official “Higginson Memorial Lecture” by Jay Friedenberg on “Presence and Absence in Evocative Japanese Haiku.”

We had a haibun slam, a stirring reading by African American haiku poets, a jazz poetry reading by Lenard D. Moore (with the band staying on stage for an hour after that for improvised music during an open-mic reading — mostly not haiku). Other highlights included a discussion and reading of senryu poetry by Alan Pizzarelli, Alexis Rotella, and Michael Rehling, an editing presentation by Susan Antolin, and a panel on the upcoming “Haikupedia” website project coordinated by Charles Trumbull, Jim Kacian, and Dave Russo for the Haiku Foundation.

So much more, such as two workshops on effectively reading your haiku aloud (by Kala Ramesh and Jerome Cushman), presentations on meditation and the moon and their influence on haiku writing, a presentation on copyright and fair use, a workshop on writing “death haiku” led by Terri L. French, qigong sessions, lectures on community building by Makoto Nakanishi from Japan and on allusion in Japanese haiku by Shinko Fushimi also from Japan, a reading of haiku written by nearly 200 contributors to the Red Moon Press New Resonance anthologies, a reading of the conference anthology, a group photo by Garry Gay, a regional reading, an origami session, my own presentation on haiku and tea ceremony, a haiga workshop by Patricia J. Machmiller, and Lori A. Minor’s remarkable presentation on social awareness in haiku, about mental illness, gender equality, and the #MeToo movement in haiku.

We also had a hospitality suite all week with free snacks, wine, and beer. And we managed to brave the 90-degree temperatures and high humidity outside to enjoy nearby restaurants for lunches and dinners. As thick as all the presentations and activities were, the chief benefit to attending, as always, was to meet fellow haiku aficionados and to socialize as much as possible.

All of this was followed on Sunday evening and all day on Monday with readings, workshops, and presentations for Tanka Monday, sponsored by the Tanka Society of America.

I’m on the board of directors of the nonprofit foundation that runs these HNA conferences every two years (starting in 1991). The event moves around the continent, and the previous one, in 2017, was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was my pleasure at the banquet to announce that the next Haiku North America conference in 2021, for our 30th anniversary, will be in Victoria, British Columbia.

meanwhile in Manassas

August 23, 2019

Here’s another community that’s found a way to bring poetry into the conversation. In Manassas, Virginia, a local writers organization, Write by the Rails, is placing framed poems in local shops, galleries, libraries, bookstores, cafes, and other civic and commercial locations. Participation in Poems Around Town is offered at no cost to the host location and is promoted on social media. Seems like a win-win.

If your poetry passion is the current state of our environment, you might want to consider submitting your work for The Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize. Offered by the Academy of American Poets with generous support from Treehouse Investments, the prize will honor three poets who submit “exceptional poems that help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present.”

Find out more about the Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize and the complete guidelines.

In a related note… if you are engaged with the topic, the literary journal apt is accepting submissions that address climate change for issue 10 through August 31, 2019. Note that apt publishes long-form work, but for this issue will consider “shorter” work, defined as 1,000 words/100 lines/7 pages minimum for poetry. See the apt submission guidelines here.

been to Everett lately?

August 21, 2019

If it’s been a while since you visited Everett, Washington, you might want to check out the lineup at Everett Poetry Night. There’s poetry on tap every Thursday — featured poet plus open mic — at Café Zippy. See link above or find more Everett Poetry Night on Facebook.

planning ahead

August 20, 2019

Spend an entertaining evening in Anacortes on the last Friday of the month as Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse opens its doors for featured poets and musical interludes. Michael Daley, who coordinates the series, has released the list of poets for September through May and you can download a PDF by clicking 2019-2020 Pelican Bay reading series.

Hugo Lit

August 19, 2019

The Hugo Literary Series has a powerful lineup for the 2019-2020 season:

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 7:30 pm
The Great Divide
Jayne Anne Phillips, Mira Jacob, Ruth Joffre, and Sarah Paul Ocampo

Friday, November 22, 2019 | 7:30 pm
Taking Liberties
Juan Felipe Herrera, Hannah Tinti, Richard Chiem, and Amber Flame

Friday, February 28, 2020 | 7:30 pm
Behind Closed Doors
Anthony Swofford, Mitchell S. Jackson, Charles D’Ambrosio, and JusMoni

Friday, May 29, 2020 | 7:30 pm
Strange Appetites
Karen Russell, Kiese Laymon, Tara Conklin, and Little Spirits

The work presented is commissioned specifically for the series and no one sees or hears the work before it is read or performed at the events for the very first time.

All events are held at Hugo House in Seattle. Series passes are now on sale. Guest writers for the Hugo Lit Series often teach a class before or after the events. These classes require a separate registration. Find out more about the Hugo Literary Series here.

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