March 21

As the media is all abuzz with the latest hashtag conversation one Seattle-born, now international, coffee megapower is attempting to initiate, it looks like the U.S. has missed the boat on “Pay with a Poem” — except for one coffee roaster in Chicago. The idea is that on World Poetry Day — tomorrow, Saturday, March 21 — you can get a cuppa and pay for it with a poem. Read the story in The Guardian.

on World Poetry Day…

March 19, 2015

March 21, 2015
…celebrate by reading, writing or listening to poetry. Saturday, March 21 is World Poetry Day and you can mark the occasion in Bellingham by joining the audience at Village Books to hear Dee Dee Chapman read from her chapbook, Colluvium, and Elizabeth Vignali read from chapbook, Object Permanence (Finishing Line Press). Additional details on Facebook. See you there.

Baltimore lights up

March 18, 2015

photo by Jenny O'Grady

Not long ago we mentioned the Baltimore LED billboard project. Well, they’re at it again. The Baltimore Ekphrasis Project is a collaboration between 33 pairs of Baltimore-area writers and artists. The results (artwork plus poems or poem excerpts) will be on rotating display on the LEDBaltimore Billboard through the week of April 6 and will also be published in a special online edition of The Light Ekphrastic. More on Facebook.
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photo by Jenny O’Grady

Poems Out Loud

St. Patrick’s Day seems an auspicious time to listen to some Irish poets reading their own words. Poems Out Loud is a good place to start. Listen to Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Paul Muldoon and others poets — Irish and otherwise — as they share their work aloud.

Write Riot is back!

March 16, 2015

Write Riot Slam

The Write Riot Slam is back, this month with a special guest “all the way from the distant land of Spokane”…Mark Anderson. You can hear Mark slam this Thursday, March 19, 2015, at 8:30pm, at Honey Moon in Bellingham. Get a Mark Anderson preview on YouTube. Read more about Write Riot here.

thinking about poetry

March 15, 2015

Load Poems Like Guns

If you’re curious about the ambitions of people writing poetry, it’s instructive to drop in to Kickstarter or Indiegogo. You’ll find funding requests from people creating poetry books, apps, readings, events and assorted other projects. Some get funded; some don’t.

The International Women’s Poetry Exchange is a Kickstarter project with a week to go. The book is underway: Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan (Holy Cow Press!). Edited by Farzana Marie, a Ph.D. candidate in Middle Eastern literature at the University of Arizona, it’s a collection of the writing of eight contemporary Afghan women poets in English translation along with the original Persian Dari text.

The funding request is to bring one of the poets, Somaya Ramesh, to the United States to take part in a series of readings. Happily, her visa was approved and she arrived in time to participate, although they will not receive their funding unless they meet their goal (at this writing, they’re $245 shy of their $2000 goal) in the next week.

If the project sounds interesting, visit International Women’s Poetry Exchange. Even better, the last two readings on the tour are in the Cascadia region: Friday, March 20, 2015, 7:00pm, at The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, and Sunday, March 22, 4:00pm, at Powell’s Books in Portland. Go!

poetry garden

March 14, 2015


For many years the home of Prentice and Virginia Bloedel, the 150-acre, north-Bainbridge Island Bloedel Reserve is today a cultural center that hosts art exhibits, music events, workshops, lectures, poetry and, starting this year, residencies.

The personal passion of Prentice Bloedel, the gardens were designed and developed by him over the course of more than 40 years. They include natural woodlands along with a Japanese garden, moss garden, reflection pool, meadow, bird refuge, waterfall, bog boardwalk and camellia trail, among other features.

The Bloedel Reserve is open year-round, but April may be an especially fine time to visit, with several events planned for National Poetry Month. See dates and details about Poetry at Bloedel on the website and see many gorgeous photos on The Bloedel Reserve Facebook page.

a short poetry walk

March 13, 2015

Dora Wheeler

Take a break and take a four-minute stroll with Jennette Mullaney, Digital Communications Manager at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In this short narrated slide show of works from the Met, Mullaney offers personal reflections on the enduring connection between poetry and visual art.
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image: “Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night,” a “needlewoven tapestry” by Dora Wheeler, 1886

on writing

March 12, 2015


Photo by Tom Palumbo

Belief & Technique for Modern Prose

  1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
  2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
  3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
  4. Be in love with yr life
  5. Something that you feel will find its own form
  6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
  7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
  8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
  10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
  11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
  12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
  13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
  14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
  15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
  16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
  17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
  18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
  19. Accept loss forever
  20. Believe in the holy contour of life
  21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
  22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
  24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
  25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
  26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
  27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
  28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
  29. You’re a Genius all the time
  30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Jack Kerouac
(March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969)
. . . . .
photo by Tom Palumbo

news we love

March 11, 2015

Snohomish, Washington

We’ve been following this story since we noticed it in a Slate article back in September: independent bookstores are growing in number and are doing more business in spite of the Brobdingnagians threatening at every turn. This is such good news. The story has traction: have a look.

This is not to suggest that independent bookstores are rolling in dough or that it’s easy to support the inventory and intelligent staff that distinguish our favorite local bookstores. Even in a healthy marketplace, with ever-diminishing profit margins, these stores and their plucky owners struggle to keep the doors open. And we’re grateful that they do because our communities wouldn’t be the same without them.

A town without independent bookstores is like a street without trees.

Who should we thank for keeping the independents alive? YOU. Every time you choose to walk through those doors, browse the delicious aisles and plunk down your dollars on the counter, you’re helping.

Thank you.
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photo: the brand-new log cabin location of the Uppercase Bookshop in Snohomish, Washington