Moveable Feasts

A Moveable Feasts Workshop
February 23-25, 2014
A guest post by Nance Van Winckel

Our workshops are for people who already have graduate degrees in creative writing. Patricia and I see this as an opportunity for participants to try out new writing on a very smart group of readers. We also offer suggestions about the literary marketplace — book publishers, agents, literary journals, and the like. Many who took our workshops ten years ago have published books now!

Patricia Henley and I have taught together many times, and in such interesting places as Abiquiu, New Mexico (at Georgia O’Keefe’s former place), and lovely St. Augustine, Florida. We keep our groups to 8-9 people in each workshop, and even over meals with participants, we continue conversations about writing: the process, authors we love, how to keep the writing practice front and center in our lives.

I love our participant readings too. The Seattle session will feature several of those — another opportunity for writers to share works in progress. While our workshop hours are very focused and intense, our times outside of workshop are full of fun conversation, good food and drink, and a sense of celebrating one another. I like this balance. I know our participants return home refreshed and eager to get back with increased vigor to their writing projects.

Poetry workshops will discuss three poems by each participant. I’m suggesting people contribute one primarily narrative poem, one primarily lyric poem, and one prose poem. Just a suggestion. My idea was we might discuss differences and expectations of these genres. Fiction writers may submit up to 25 pages of a short story or novel excerpt.

Both workshops are already about half full, and with superb writers. E-mail Nance or Patricia (see addresses at the bottom of the poster) with questions and for enrollment information.

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Nance Van Winckel ( has two new books out in 2013: Pacific Walkers, her sixth collection of poems (U. of Washington Press), and Boneland, her fourth book of linked stories (U. of Oklahoma Press). The recipient of two NEA Poetry Fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner, she has new work from a (text-based photo-collage) novel forthcoming in Kenyon Review and Hotel Amerika. She teaches in the low-residency MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her text-based collage work may be viewed at:

Patricia Henley is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, three short story collections, two novels, a stage play, and numerous essays. Her first book of stories, Friday Night at Silver Star (Graywolf, 1986), was the winner of the Montana First Book Award. Her first novel, Hummingbird House (MacMurray & Beck, 1999), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent publications include an essay in Smithsonian Magazine and short stories in Glimmer Train, Seattle Review, and The Normal School. She taught for 24 years in the MFA Program at Purdue University and now lives in Cincinnati with her two dogs, Jack and Alice. Her website, which has more info about her books, is:

home teams compete…

July 30, 2013

National Poetry Slam 2013 posterThe National Poetry Slam will rock Boston from August 12 through August 17, 2013, with 72 teams competing for the title. On the list from Washington state: Seattle Poetry Slam and Spokane Poetry Slam.

Follow the latest on Facebook: National Poetry Slam, Seattle Poetry Slam and Spokane Poetry Slam. As the action heats up, there will also be updates on the NPS Press Release Feed.

on poetry…

July 29, 2013

Stanley Kunitz

“Every new poem is like finding a new bride. Words are so erotic, they never tire of their coupling.” Stanley Kunitz (July 29, 1905 – May 14, 2006)

. . . . .

Malcolm Kenyon - The Goat Island Battery
2013 Walk Award
By Malcolm H. Kenyon

Monuments to changed perceptions
these batteries once covered every estuary
strait and cove in Puget Sound,

Our continent a land-locked ship
with twelve-inch rifles aimed
at ghosts who never came

Each rock and headland honeycombed
with concrete revetments and magazines
once-filled with real-live men

Who scanned the night for threats
which lay beyond the range of guns—
the world stayed out of reach and war

Evolved in Asia. The inability of islands
to maneuver left such citadels behind
for picnics, lovers, vines

That curled around the vacant ports
to slowly close the eyes of history
till masonry and native rock

Could not be told apart.

*Copyright 2013 by Malcolm H. Kenyon. Placard designed and illustrated by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio.

poetry ride…

July 27, 2013

Tucson Modern Streetcar Maintenance and Storage Facility

Sometimes poetry is an afterthought (or not a thought at all), but the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar Project, currently under construction and this week celebrating the final weld in its rail line, is thinking ahead. With the support of the University of Arizona Poetry Center, the completed transit system will include “custom LCD poetry ‘reader boards’ at nine of the 17 streetcar stops,” according to the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Good work, Tucson.

Follow the progress on the Tucson Modern Streetcar Facebook page.
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Photo: The first piece of public art, by Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead, installed at the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar Maintenance and Storage Facility.

Poetry Brothel

Tired of those plain old vanilla poetry readings? Take a cue from the Poetry Brothel. It’s a poetry reading, with poets appearing in costume to promote “the creation of character, which for poet and audience functions as disguise and as freeing device, enabling The Poetry Brothel to be a place of uninhibited creative expression in which the poets and clients can be themselves in private.”

Here’s more from the Poetry Brothel Facebook group: “The ‘Madame‘ presents a rotating cast of this city’s finest poets (both men and women) engaged in a night of surreal happenings, literary debauchery and private poetry readings. Here’s how it works: The poets play ‘whores,’ visitors play ‘johns’ (and are also encouraged to attend incognito!) but instead of physical intimacy, the poets offer the intimacy of their poetry by giving private, one-on-one readings in curtained-off areas. All of the resident ‘whores’ are available for private readings at any time during the event (and gratuities are expected!).”

There’s a Poetry Bordello in Chicago, a Poetry Brothel in Los Angeles, another in New Orleans, The Secret Order of the Libertines in Philadelphia, and a new Poetry Brothel has emerged in Kingston, New York. (Alas, a Seattle Poetry Brothel, planned as a fundraiser for Richard Hugo House, was cancelled because one of the participants tried to introduce nudity.) For more on the Chicago group, read Kathleen Rooney’s article, “Pimp My Poem,” on the Poetry Foundation website.
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summer lit…

July 25, 2013

Auburn Days

If you’re eager to show off the Northwest’s literary chops to your house guests, consider taking them to Auburn Days on Sunday, August 11, 2013. The three-day festival (August 9, 10 and 11), which includes a parade, a dance, model boats, a car show, plenty of food and other fun, culminates with Sunday’s Adventures in Literature. The lineup features workshops, readings by Poets on Parade, a small press fair and book swap, an essay contest, open mic and much more. See the complete schedule for Adventures in Literature or visit Auburn Days on Facebook.

Great Blue*

July 24, 2013

Victoria Doerper - Great Blue
2013 Merit Award
By Victoria Doerper

Fish eater, water-stalker;
Killer of moles and muskrats;
Eater of roots;
Feathered squawker, flapper of blue-grey
Silklet strands, curved head plumes,
Neck like a snake;
Flies up before me like a first kiss —
Compelling urge upwells to awkwardness,
Slipping to a sweet, soft gliding grace —
Wings touch the clouds, then dip away
To the clay-blue bowl of the lake.

*Copyright 2013 by Victoria Doerper. Placard designed and illustrated by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio.

reflecting on Fishtrap

July 23, 2013


A guest post by Jo Ann Heydron

I’ve just returned from Summer Fishtrap, my favorite writing conference. I’ve attended better-known, juried conferences — Bread Loaf, Tin House, Napa, Squaw Valley — but I go year after year to Fishtrap. When I skip a year, I stumble into fall as if deprived of some major nutrient. I might as well have scurvy.

Located in a Methodist retreat center near the Eastern Oregon town of Joseph, Fishtrap is a few hundred yards from the spectacularly beautiful Wallowa Lake, ringed by mountains and serviced by cabins, lodges, a mini-golf course, elevated tramway, and ice cream stands that recall the 1950s. Counterpointing this old-fashioned cheer are the ghosts of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce people, who claimed the Wallowa Valley as their own, were betrayed by the U.S. government, resisted relocation, and almost won the day. You can’t look into the lake or hike in the hills without feeling their presence.

Writers, the 150 adults and youth who sign up for this week of workshops, and the ten or so who teach them, are attracted, I think, by the beautiful sorrow of the place and the way it speaks to saving what we can of our dying world. Teachers this year included William Kittredge, Annick Smith, Judy Blunt, Ben Percy, Scott Russell Sanders, Holly Hughes, Minton Sparks, Tarn Wilson, Myrlin Hepworth, and musician Anne Sibley. Jane Vandenburgh and my own instructor, Kim Stafford, wound up yearlong workshops. Wild author Cheryl Strayed was keynote speaker for the weekend and Jennifer Sahn, editor of Orion Magazine, moderated a panel on storytelling.

I appreciate Fishtrap’s noncompetitive, congenial atmosphere, in which you can hear messages that shake up your writing life among friends who quiet the fear and anxiety that accompany growth.

Registration for Summer Fishtrap 2014 will begin in April. Next year’s keynote speaker will be poet Naomi Shihab Nye. We’ll celebrate the hundredth birthday of the late iconic poet William Stafford by remembering the title of one of his books, You Must Revise Your Life, and imagining what following that advice that might entail.

. . . . .
Jo Ann Heydron lives in Bellingham. Her work has appeared in Puerto del Sol, Trachodon, The Nebraska Review, So to Speak, the Pacifica Literary Review and elsewhere. In 2009, she received an MFA in fiction from Pacific University. Her poem “How to Stay” was a 2010 winner in the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. This year, she’s enjoyed a yearlong workshop taught by Kim Stafford through Fishtrap. She has taught at community colleges in Washington and California and blogs at Talking to Strangers: An Introvert Hits the Streets.

poetry reading…

July 22, 2013

Robert Sund Poetry House readingRobert Sund Poetry House invites you to a Summer Poetry Reading at Anchor Art Space in Anacortes, 216 Commercial Avenue, on Friday, July 26, 2013 – 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

Please come and enjoy music by Brad and Jeff and poetry by Jane Alynn, Michael Daley, Chip Hughes and Paul Hunter. All friends of Robert and poetry welcome!
$5 donation appreciated