on poetry

September 30, 2014

W.S. Merwin photo by Matt Valentine“I think of poetry as being audible. One of the differences between prose and poetry is that you have to hear poetry.”
W.S. Merwin
(b. September 30, 1927)
. . . . .
photo by Matt Valentine

this Thursday!

September 29, 2014

poetry reading

Mark your calendar and get there early to claim a seat in the Village Books Readings Gallery as Oliver de la Paz and Susan Rich read poetry from their latest books this Thursday, October 2, 2014, at 7:00pm.


September 28, 2014

Michelle Ballou - untitled
By Michelle Ballou
2014 Walk Award

Summer roses
blown open —
my son calls home from Iraq

*Copyright 2014 by Michelle Ballou. Broadside designed by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, Flying Dodo Publications.

another poetry walk

September 27, 2014

Ted Hughes Poetry Trail

Ted Hughes was born in Yorkshire, in the north of England, but at age 30 moved to Devon county in the country’s southwest, where he remained for the rest of his life. His presence in the region, to say nothing of his position as Poet Laureate (1984 until his death in 1998), is honored with the Ted Hughes Poetry Trail in Stover Country Park, Newton Abbot, Devon.

Part of an extensive Heritage Trail Walking Route, the Hughes Poetry Trail opened in 2006 and features 16 granite and wood poetry posts, each displaying a poem, plus a short Children’s Poetry Trail with poems about animals, some of which are illustrated. Visitors are advised to allow about two hours to complete the trail, which follows a stream for a way and loosely encircles a lake.
. . . . .

Word Vancouver

Word Vancouver (formerly The Word On The Street Vancouver, founded in 1995) is Western Canada’s largest celebration of words and reading. The festival has already started and the main festival day takes place on Sunday, September 28, 2014, at the Central Branch of the Vancouver (BC) Public Library. A lively schedule includes musical performances, free readings, panel discussions, writing workshops and a variety of literacy activities, plus exhibits featuring Canadian authors, books and magazines. Find out more at Word Vancouver online and on Facebook.

Meanwhile, in Tieton, Washington, LiTFUSE 2014 is underway and continues through the weekend with an inspiring selection of readings, performances, workshops, open mics and camaraderie. More on LiTFUSE online and on Facebook.


Have a great weekend!

poetry postcard

By all accounts, 2014 has been a good year for August Poetry Postcard-ers. Though some people were disappointed with the number of cards they received, most seem delighted, and continue to enjoy the surprise of finding a late-arriving postcard in the mailbox even well into September. (Comments are gathered from the project’s Facebook group.)

For this participant, it was the fourth year and the best haul yet. The people on my list received postcards from my extremely random collection — cards that have found their way to me from family, garage sales, past travels, etc. — and most of the poems were prompted by the image or the caption on the card itself.

After I finished my regular August list, I decided to keep going, sending cards to the people who had sent them to me (the way the list is set up, your receive from list is different from your send to list) and responding very directly to the poem they wrote. I still have a few more to send, but by the end of September, I’ll have around 60 little drafts and, among them, perhaps some lines that will find their way into more developed poems.

Paul Nelson is a founder of the August Poetry Postcard Fest, along with Lana Hechtman Ayers, and he is also this year’s poet wrangler. His blog serves as Postcard Fest Central and there you’ll find information about the annual event, including a 2015 countdown clock, Paul’s afterword about this year’s fest and details on the postcards and poems he sent, plus a page about the postcards he received.

Paul’s tremendous work on behalf of this event results in the production of an enormous amount of poetry, to say nothing of the expanded (worldwide) network of poets connecting with one another and the mood-enhancing effect on our mail carriers, who must certainly be amused at all this poetry traffic. Thanks, Paul.

Some of the other 422 people on this year’s August Poetry Postcard list are also sharing their poems (and/or their reflections on participating). To see more, click on the poet’s name (in some cases you may have to navigate through several pages to see all of the person’s postcards):

Anna ElkinsBarbara Jean Sunshine Walsh
Courtney BirstDenise at NewPagesJessica Goodfellow
Kelleyanne PearceKristin Cleage Williams
Lisa NicholsMartina RobinsonMary Beth Frezon
McKenzie Lynn TozanNaomi / Kestrel Hill
Raymond MaxwellS.E. IngrahamWrensong

If I’ve missed your postcard posts, please leave a comment with a link to your blog or website. Thanks!

Reasons to go to…Tucson

September 24, 2014

Tucson, ArizonaAs you’re planning your getaway from the short, dark days of winter, consider Tucson, Arizona, where you’ll find the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Founded in 1960, the Center has nearly 70,000 items related to poetry in its collection.

“An internationally renowned poetry library, the Poetry Center sponsors numerous University and community programs, including readings and lectures, classes and workshops, discussion groups, symposia, writing residencies, poets-in-the-schools, poets-in-the-prisons, contests, exhibitions, and online resources, including standards-based poetry curricula. An area of special emphasis within the College of Humanities, the Poetry Center is open and fully accessible to the public.”

If you’re fortunate enough to get there by December 10, 2014, be sure to take in “Lie Quietly: New Works of Karen Green.” An artist, poet and the author of Bough Down, Karen Green melds language and image into haunting and provocative artworks.

Explore the University of Arizona Poetry Center website and Facebook page, then go!
. . . . .
photo by Henry Tom

poetry walk

September 23, 2014

Laurie Lee Wildlife Way

If the name Laurie Lee isn’t top-of-mind among American poetry readers, he is nonetheless beloved in the Cotswolds of south-central England, where celebrations in 2014 are marking the centenary of his birth. Called “Gloucestershire’s most famous twentieth century writer,” Lee is in fact best known by schoolchildren for the first volume of his autobiography, Cider With Rosie.

His life and work were deeply influenced by the local landscape, and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has honored him with the opening of the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way. This six-mile loop passes through four nature reserves, including Laurie Lee Wood, and includes 11 poetry posts with poems printed on glass to offer a window onto the scenery that inspired them.

For more on the trail, see Harriet O’Brien’s “Laurie Lee: A literary landscape in the Cotswolds” and historian and poet Stuart Butler’s blog about his experience on the trail, which he recommends, on a bike, which he does not: “Laurie Lee Wildlife Walk: Lit-crit on a bike.”

For more on Laurie Lee, see Valerie Grove’s book, Laurie Lee: The Well-loved Stranger (Viking, 1999, out of print), which is reviewed in “The tragic success of Laurie Lee” by Robert McCrumb, with fascinating insights into Lee’s life and oeuvre. See also the Laurie Lee Official Centenary Website and a remembrance of Rosalind Buckland, the “Rosie” who inspired Lee’s book and who died last week.

Banned Books Week

September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014

Imagine contemporary poetry without Leaves of Grass or Howl. In fact, Whitman and Ginsberg are just two of the poets whose work has been “challenged” with the goal of removing it from libraries, schools, bookshelves, hands and minds.

The freedom to read what we want is not universal. Banned Books Week celebrates that freedom, highlighting the value of free and open access to information and supporting the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

For more information, visit your local library or bookstore, Banned Books Week online and Banned Books Week on Facebook. See Boynton Blog posts from 2012 and 2013. See a post on “Dangerous American Poets” from the Banned & Dangerous Art seminar the the University of Mary Washington. See a list of Frequently challenged books of the 21st century (through 2013). See planned events state by state. Show your support for the freedom to read by adding a “twibbon” to your social media. Read!

Cheddar and Mozzarella*

September 21, 2014

Brett Larkin - Cheddar and Mozzarella
Cheddar and Mozzarella
By Brett Larkin, 6th grade
2014 Merit Award

Cheddar is yellow like a sunflower,
Mozzarella is like spring every hour,
Cheddar is like the sun shining so bright,
Mozzarella is like snow a winter delight.

Cheddar is like a bee buzzing all around,
Mozzarella is like a bird flying through town,
Cheddar is as yellow as the sun,
Mozzarella is as white as the moon,

Cheddar is like a tree with a gleaming glow,
Mozzarella is like a tree bulging with snow,
Cheddar is a planet big and out there,
Mozzarella is a planet small and out where?
My mind thinks mozzarella
But my taste buds go with cheddar.

*Copyright 2014 by Brett Larkin. Broadside designed and illustrated by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio.