more poetry workshops!

October 31, 2015

Two more terrific poets will offer workshops to benefit the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Workshops are held on the lower level of the Fairhaven Library in Bellingham, Washington. Registration is required: $30 for one workshop or $50 for both workshops offered the same day, paid by check or cash at the workshop.

Register by sending an email to indicating the workshop(s) you wish to take and including your name and a phone number. Please bring writing materials.

Ann Spiers10:00am – Noon
Ann Spiers
The Poem’s Line, or Lessons in Break Dancing

“Yet there is at our disposal no tool of the poetic craft more important, none that yields more subtle and precise effects, than the linebreak if it is properly used.” Denise Levertov

Linebreaks help you construct a poem, especially as you draft the poem’s final form. In this workshop, participants will respond to writing prompts to create stanzas, and then practice the art of line breaks. The class will consider how other poets used this integral craft by studying poems to discern poets’ diverse decisions about linebreaks. Linebreaks can define the poem, create cadence, establish emphasis, aid the reader in decoding meaning, uncover rhyme and half-rhyme, fudge clunky moments, provide humor, enhance sound, alter pace, and clarify phrasing. Some poets use linebreaks, spacing, and tabbing to display the process of the poet writing at the moment of creating a poem — its intellectual or emotional structure.

Ann Spiers is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Vashon Island. She stewards the Poetry Post in Vashon’s Village Green, co-produced the 2009 Vashon Poetry Fest, and curated Broadsides: Poems on Paper at a Vashon art gallery.

Bellingham’s poets have been good to Ann. Egress Studio Press published her chapbook, What Rain Does. She has read at the Whatcom Poetry Series and Village Books. She fondly remembers reading T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” at Fast Eddie’s Tavern when the audience raucously joined in the poem’s refrain. This year, Peasandcues Press designed and printed the broadside, “Rain Violent,” a poem from her Weather Station manuscript.

Michael Daley1:00 – 3:00pm
Michael Daley

This workshop will suggest the practice of “organic form” described by Denise Levertov in her essay by that name. Attentiveness, or “attentivity” (not a word), may be the prime mover of poetry, or at least its muse’s primary tool, so basic it operates at the instinct level, and like spontaneous dance, leads to refinement. The workshop’s efforts will be toward an organic practice of composition through six different exercises. As they are exercises, rough drafts are the hope, but the practice includes recognizing three distinct tiers, or phases, in crafting observational responses. “During our time together we will grope toward the form of what we need to say.”

Michael Daley was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He later took vows and prepared to become a Catholic priest. Upon leaving religious life, he was wild in the streets, protesting wars and seeking a life of experience. He holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and an M.F.A. from the University of Washington. He is the founding editor of Empty Bowl Press, former Poet-in-Residence for the Washington State Arts Commission, the Skagit River Poetry Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and a retired English Instructor for Mount Vernon High School. In addition to seven chapbooks, he has published three full-length collections of his poetry and a book of essays. He has been awarded by the Washington State Arts Commission, Seattle Arts Commission, Artist Trust, Fulbright, and the National Endowment of the Humanities.

on poetry

October 30, 2015

Paul Valéry“Of two possible words always choose the lesser.”
Paul Valéry
(October 30, 1871 – July 20, 1945)
. . . . .
photo by Pierre Choumoff

Reasons to go to…New York

October 29, 2015

Meg Hitchcock - Self-portrait

It has been a while since we mentioned Meg Hitchcock, and this seems an auspicious moment to renew that acquaintance. Of her work, which she calls “text drawings,” Hitchcock says, “I deconstruct a sacred text by cutting its individual letters, and reassemble them to form a passage from another holy book.”

These remarkable works are currently on exhibit in New York:
Verbatim, a solo show at Studio10
October 30 – December 20, 2015
Opening: Friday, October 30; 7-9 p.m.
56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Text Me, a group show at Hazan Projects
October 29 – December 12, 2015
Opening: Thursday, October 29; 6-8 p.m.
35 N. Moore Street, Tribeca, NY, NY 10013

Ten Years of Artists Books, curated by Donna Seager
at the Brooklyn Public Library
October 1 – January 24, 2016
10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238

and in Massachusetts:
Bibliothecaphilia, a group show at MASS MoCA
on view through March 2016
1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247

More Meg Hitchock on her artist’s website.

On a geographically related note…if you’re headed to the East Coast, you might also consider attending the 42nd Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading for The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church.
. . . . .
image (via email): Meg Hitchcock, Self Portrait: The Lord’s Prayer, Letters cut from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, 23 x 18 in. (detail), 2015

air india [redacted]

Renée Sarojini Saklikar’s award winning book of poetry, children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections (Nightwood Editions, 2013), is a beautiful and chilling exploration of the wrenching emotion and long institutional silence surrounding the June 23, 1985, bombing of Air India Flight 182 off the coast of Ireland in which 329 lives were lost.

Inspired by Saklikar’s book and his own research, Irish composer Jürgen Simpson has created air india [redacted], which will be performed in Vancouver by the Turning Point Ensemble with soprano Zorana Sadiq, countertenor Daniel Cabena and baritone Alexander Dobson.

There will be five performances, November 6, 7, 8 (matinee), 10 and 11, 2015, at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Vancouver, BC. For additional information, see the event page on Simon Fraser University’s website. For further details on Renée Sarojini Saklikar and her chronicle of place, identity and language, see thecanadaproject.

The Wild in You

October 27, 2015

Lorna Crozier - The Wild in You

This should be a treat: Canadian poet Lorna Crozier will read from her latest book, The Wild in You: Voices from the Forest and the Sea, tomorrow, Wednesday, October 28, 2015, at 7:00pm, in the Readings Gallery at Village Books, Bellingham, Washington. A collaboration between Crozier and photographer Ian McAllister, the book combines exquisite words and images of wilderness.
. . . . .
photo of Lorna Crozier by Chris Hancock Donaldson

make book

October 26, 2015

Altered State One (Cressy)

In connection with the inspiring Whatcom Museum exhibit, Unhinged, book artist Elsi Vassdal Ellis will offer a workshop, Soft Cover Hand-Bound Bookmaking, on Saturday, November 7, 2015, 10:00am – 4:00pm, in the Lightcatcher Studio (Bellingham, WA). Participants will learn an easy, aesthetically pleasing technique to create a journal or sketchbook, constructing a simple wraparound soft cover, reinforcing the spine with decorative paper, and sewing the sections directly to the cover with a simple pamphlet stitch.

Elsi Vassdal Ellis has been making books since 1983. Her work is included in many public collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum. She teaches digital pre-press, offset and letterpress printing, graphic design history, materials and finishing, and book arts at Western Washington University.

The workshop, $70 General/$65 Museum members (includes some supplies), is suitable for ages 15+. Class size is limited and registration is required. Registration deadline is Monday, November 2. Register by phone at 360-778-7000 or in person at the Bellingham Parks and Recreation office, 3424 Meridian Street. Supply list available at registration. Bring your lunch.
. . . . .
image: Elsi Vassdal Ellis – Altered State One (Cressy)

What is Turquoise?*

October 25, 2015

2015 Merit Award
By Hazel Lauber (3rd grade)

What is Turquoise?

What is turquoise?
Turquoise is a shiny car.
Turquoise is a tiny bit far.
Turquoise is a bright pen.
That can write with a hen.
Turquoise is pretty shoes,
That you can never loose.
Turquoise is Neptune,
But only on the moon.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Hazel Lauber. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

NaNoWriMo minus eight

October 24, 2015


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts Sunday, November 1. For the 30 days of November, writers of every ilk crank out massive numbers of words toward the goal of 50,000 by the end of the month. The emphasis is on quantity, not clean copy, the idea being that if you have 50,000 words to edit, you’re really close to having a book.

And don’t let the word novel dissuade or intimidate you. Poets and non-fiction writers can NaNoWriMo, too. If you sign up on the NaNoWriMo website, you’ll find pep talks, word counters, milestone badges, forums, tips and plenty of NaNoWriMo swag. There are also local/regional activities and Come Write In events at libraries, bookstores and other neighborhood spaces. NaNoWriMo is on Facebook, too.

Whether you go for the gold or just use NaNoWriMo as a challenge to get you to write every single day for a month, just think of all the delicious words you’ll write!


Poet Carla Shafer, well known around Cascadia as the founder (1993) and guiding spirit of the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater, has forwarded several invitations for poets and poetry lovers.

First, there’s the World Peace Poets Third Annual Read-In, which is happening tomorrow, Saturday, October 24, 2015, at St. James Presbyterian Church, 910 14th Street, Bellingham, Washington. This is a free, public event with special musical guests. Doors open at 5:00pm. A light dinner will be served at 5:30 along with coffee and tea. Readings begin at 6:15pm and 30-40 poets and musicians will present until about 9:30pm.

Next, there’s the Thanksgiving Community Concert to be held on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 25, 2015, at 7:00pm, also at St. James Presbyterian Church. The evening will include the reading of three poems selected from open submissions. Poets may submit up to three poems (maximum 35 lines or 1-2 minutes each) on the theme of thankfulness. Suggestions from Carla: “A short narrative poem on a Thanksgiving memory, lyrical or commentary poem on thankfulness related to life today. Start with a repeating line, such as: I am thankful when… It can be humorous or serious, but a poem or a prose poem. Avoid end rhymes.” Use the subject line Thanksgiving poem and send as a pdf or MSword attachment to The deadline is Noon on Sunday, November 1.

Finally, poets are invited to submit up to three poems in which rain is the theme or a significant metaphor for a Pacific Northwest rain anthology. Poems can be up to 1-1/2 pages long. Readers “will want to read this under an umbrella, in front of a warm fire, or until they feel drenched in the solemn or giddy joy or the overwhelming dreariness of rain.” Use the subject line RAIN POEM 11.15.2015 and send as a pdf or MSword attachment to The deadline is midnight on Sunday, November 15.

get thee to Portland!

October 22, 2015


Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival is coming up. Re-launched as a one-day event, Wordstock will take place at the Portland Art Museum on Saturday, November 7, 2015, 9:00am – 6:00pm. The all-ages event will feature more than 80 authors, 40 events, 17 workshops, a book fair with 60+ local and national publishing vendors and literary organizations, food carts, a beer garden, live music, and more.

Poets include: Mary Jo Bang, author of The Last Two Seconds; Katie Ford, author of Blood Lyrics; Robin Coste Lewis, author of Voyage of the Sable Venus; Rowan Ricardo Phillips, author of Heaven; Alicia Jo Rabins, author of Divinity School; Diane Seuss, author of Four-legged Girl; and Rebecca Wolff, author of One Morning.

Details on the Literary Arts website and on Facebook.