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

on poetry…

July 21, 2013

Tess Gallagher

“The best love poems confirm something we secretly felt but never said.”
Tess Gallagher
(b. July 21, 1943)

. . . . .

Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing ProjectKids age 13 to 17 who are in the juvenile justice system have a lot to say and, in most cases, neither the tools nor the opportunity to say it. Poets Matthew Brouwer and Kevin Murphy are hoping to change that for a handful of young people with their collaborative endeavor, the Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project.

The two-week creative writing class will meet at least two hours a day to provide an opportunity for these youth to find a voice through poetry, stories and personal narratives. At the end of the two weeks students will choose their favorite pieces to go in a chapbook that will be published and made available to the community.

Brouwer and Murphy are both experienced teachers and published poets. To fund their project, they have put together a very modest budget, with a goal they hope to reach by their Kickstarter deadline of July 30, 2013.

Visit their Kickstarter page, watch the video, think about the benefits to these young people…and make a donation to the Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project. Then go tell your friends!

Icarus Ashore*

July 19, 2013

Icarus Ashore by Matt Malyon
2013 Walk Award
By Matt Malyon

What’s interesting is not the obvious, but the gaze
of the cashier, how she closes her book softly
and eyes the few tattered wet-clung feathers
extending beyond the borders of his body as he walks
away from the automatic doors, the water pooling
at his feet, and makes his way to Skin Care. Also,
the customer in frozen foods who drops his burritos
and starts for the door; the woman near the exit
who can’t help smirking at the scene—a naked man
with wings studying the selection of sunscreen.
It is, rather, as she scans the product, the intuition
of the cashier as to the true nature of his father’s
caution. How, with fingers closing around
the severed wings, she takes the almost pinionless span
offered as payment and places it behind the counter,
waves him through, and—as he exits toward the beach,
already rubbing the lotion on his shoulders—how she
suspects the revisions such a long swim will effect,
and why, perhaps, his was an important failure.

*Copyright 2013 by Matt Malyon.
Placard design by Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle,

the poet speaks…

July 18, 2013

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“I am a poetician, not a politician.”
Yevgeny Yevtushenko
(b. July 18, 1933)

. . . . .

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