postcard season…

June 30, 2013

poetry postcardsIf you like sending and receiving postcards, August is your month. The August Poetry Postcard Fest is once again gathering names and mailing addresses of interested participants for the postcard-a-day project, which begins, yes, in August.

The idea is that you write a postcard-size poem each day during the month of August, write it on an actual postcard, then address, stamp and mail it to one of the recipients on the list. In turn, you will receive poems from others on the list and discover yourself newly connected to an ever-widening audience of poets. But for the cost of postage (and be aware that some participants are outside the U.S.), it’s free.

Brendan McBreen is coordinating the project again this year and he has posted all the salient details on the August Poetry Postcard site. Think you can write a poem a day (they’re small)? Sign up!


June 29, 2013

Simile by Margarethe Zubler-Keller
2013 Merit Award
By Margarethe Zubler-Keller

as when a mist becomes a rain it can begin
        to trickle, flow, and run fierce
        and wild; to roar, to fall in white abandon
or yet, meander into traps with no outlet
to stagnate, and brooding, to sicken

to flow gently from pool to ocean
or dash against the unyielding

it drowns; gives life
taunts in mirage
in memory, haunts

to freeze, to scald, to waste
to swim, to bathe, to taste
a salt tear        a salt sea
an ever larger mystery

amidst a sea of faces holding still
and peals of grief that sound like laughter
I hold my premise now and ever will
that love, in all its guises, is like water

*Copyright 2013 by Margarethe Zubler-Keller. Placard design by Egress Studio.

summer camp!

June 28, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMoAs the Northern Hemisphere days grow (alas) shorter and hotter, it’s once again time for summer camp — and that means Camp NaNoWriMo. You’re no doubt familiar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, every November) and National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo, every April). Well, Camp NaNoWriMo offers the same encouragement and support to help you produce a volume of writing in a very condensed chunk of time.

But, you say, you don’t really want to write a novel. You have something else in mind. Funny you should mention that. Shelby Gibbs addresses that very concern in The Camp Guide to Rebelling.

However you decide to use your month at Camp, you can get all the details and sign up on the Camp NaNoWriMo website. Don’t forget your sunscreen!


June 26, 2013

Skate by Liam Veitch
2013 Walk Award
By Liam Veitch, 6th grade

The winter interrupts
And takes away
From the freedom
To skate

Going to my favorite park
In the sun
It’s hard—indoors
I’m stuck
My parents built me a ramp—it’s not my favorite
My friends like it
In the dark barn

I like skate church
People there know me
And I feel free
I make friends
And people like me for who I am
I am a skater
Even without the sun

**Copyright 2013 by Liam Veitch.
Placard design by Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle,

laurelWith this month’s re-appointment of U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, Natasha Trethewey (she is also State Poet Laureate of Mississippi), who will serve for a second term (2013-2014), we thought it an auspicious time to consider Poets Laureate closer to home. Here is a brief introduction, with links (if available) where you can find announcements, bios, poetry and scheduled readings.

Kathleen Flenniken is Washington State Poet Laureate (2012-2014). In addition to her own writing and an ambitious schedule of readings, workshops and other appearances, Kathleen maintains The Far Field, a growing, online collection of works by poets in Washington.

Richard (Dick) Brugger is Poet Laureate for the city of Auburn, Washington (2012-2015).

Christopher Luna is serving as the Poet Laureate for Clark County, Washington (2013-2014).

Jeannine Hall Gailey is Poet Laureate for Redmond, Washington (2012-2013). See also Jeannine’s Poetry in Redmond blog.

Lucas Smiraldo is Poet Laureate for the city of Tacoma, Washington (2013-2015).

Ina Whitlock is serving as Vashon Island’s Poet Laureate (2013-2015) and Vashon also has two students who serve as Youth Poets Laureate.

Patrick Knowles is Poet Laureate for the town of Yacolt, Washington, which happens to be in Clark County (see Christopher Luna, above).

In addition to our regional laureates, the Poetry Foundation-appointed Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt, happens to live in Spokane, Washington, so we include him here.

And, to be neighborly, we should also mention Paulann Petersen, serving her second term as the Poet Laureate of Oregon; Evelyn Lau, the Poet Laureate of Vancouver, BC; Janet Marie Rogers, Poet Laureate of Victoria, BC; Fred Wah, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada; and Brady Udall, Writer in Residence for the state of Idaho. (Note: Udall, whose term ends June 30, 2013, is a novelist. He will be replaced as Writer in Residence by poet Diane Raptosh, who is also serving as the first Poet Laureate for the city of Boise.)

The Beginning*

June 24, 2013

The Beginning by Deborah Lutz
2013 Merit Award
By Deborah Lutz

I try to imagine the first winds…
Did they begin with a great howl?
Or whisper, stirring first from flora and fauna
then feather, then further still
until they pushed the clouds from
one side of the world to the other?
And did the first sounds
crawl a chorus line of bugs,
warbling from the hollowed throats
of ancient aviators,
slipping from the insides of
bubble-breasted toads?
The same sounds I hear
while wandering by the lakeside
or writing, sketching at the pond’s embankment?
Where blades of grass are tiny swords
softer than metal
but louder than a thousand cymbals—
When wind blows through them;
they battle out a medley
to match the waters’ crooning.
And I wonder,
are we still wild and ageless?

*Copyright 2013 by Deborah Lutz. Placard design by Egress Studio.

the poet speaks…

June 23, 2013

Anna Akhmatova

“My shadow serves as the friend I crave.” Anna Akhmatova (June 23, 1889 – March 5, 1966)

. . . . .
photo by Paul Luknitsky

SpeakEasy 11

The ongoing Bellingham-based poetry series, SpeakEasy, will present a new theme in a new venue for its eleventh program. Poet’s Mind: concept and process, on Saturday, June 29, 2013, at 7:00pm, will feature ten poets, each reading and discussing a single poem.

The featured poets are Luther Allen, Caleb Barber, Matthew Brouwer, Ryler Dustin, Susan J. Erickson, J.I. Kleinberg, Nancy Pagh, Sheila Sondik, Caitlin Thomson and Jeanne Yeasting.

After a number of very successful gatherings at The Amadeus Project, which has now closed, SpeakEasy 11 will take place at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Avenue in Fairhaven. Admission is by donation.

poems on view!

June 21, 2013

submissions displayIn case you missed the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest awards ceremony and did not get to see the display of all the poems that were submitted to this year’s contest, you have a second chance! The poems are on view through the month of June at the Bellingham Public Library in central Bellingham at 210 Central Avenue. (Library hours here.)

To find the display, walk into the library, past the checkout desks, turn left in front of the Reference Librarian’s desk (by the computers) and left again down the first aisle. They’re posted on a wall that backs up to the non-fiction section. Look for the blue sheets, like in the photo above.

And while you’re in the neighborhood…enjoy the 2012 Walk Award plaques in front of the library. They will remain on view until the 2013 set is installed a little later this summer.

book sculpture by Long-Bin ChenWhile we do not advocate that you subject your own (or anyone else’s) library to such treatment, we strongly urge you to examine the remarkable works now on exhibit at The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston (through July 6, 2013). Rebound: Dissections and Excavations in Book Art features five artists — Doug Beube, Long-Bin Chen, Brian Dettmer, Guy Laramée and Francesca Pastine — each exploring the book as a sculptural medium. Do take some time to browse the photos and videos and to visit the pages on each artist as well as the artists’ websites. You may not feel quite the same about books and magazines once you’ve seen this work.

Now…about those annoying telephone directories…
. . . . .
Book sculpture by Long-Bin Chen