Early-bird tickets available!
February 13, 2016
Tickets are now on sale for the 2016 Skagit River Poetry Festival, May 19-22 in the historic town of La Conner, Washington. The four-day event features some of the most renowned and diverse names in poetry, including Naomi Shihab Nye, a celebrated Arab-American writer described as “international in scope and internal in focus.” She is four-time winner of the prestigious Pushcart Prize.
The 9th biennial festival opens with a literary bang on May 19, when spoken word poets take the stage in a program called “Wake Up. Speak Out,” challenging audiences with new poetic ideas and forms. Participants include Jeanann Verlee, who has represented New York City ten times at the National Poetry Slam; Jamaal May, Detroit poet and filmmaker; Daemond Arrindell, curator of the Seattle Poetry Slam; American-Bangladeshi poet, educator, editor, and spoken-word artist Tarfia Faizullah; and Seattle Grand Slam champion Matt Gano.
Over the next two days, the festival presents some of the most thoughtful and provocative voices in contemporary poetry, reflecting cultures from around the world. The lineup includes Aimee Nezhukumatathil, a poet born to a Filipina mother and Malayali Indian father; Natalie Diaz, a member of the Mojave and Pima Indian tribes and a former professional basketball player; Zen Buddhist priest and poet Norman Fischer; poet Lorna Dee Cervantes, a major voice in contemporary Chicana literature; and Koon Woon, born in a small Chinese village near Canton in 1949 and described as a “cross-cultural rebel.”
Top Northwest poets on the bill include Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellow Richard Kenney from Port Townsend; Canadian musician, philosopher, and award-winning poet Jan Zwicky; and Washington State’s new Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, a professor at Gonzaga University who is dedicated to bringing humanities to underserved populations. “Poetry matters — not just to poets, professors, and students — poetry matters to everyone,” he says.
Events include a Thursday night Soiree extravaganza, a mixer with festival artists that includes wine and delicious, locally sourced hors d’oeuvres. On Sunday, the final day of the festival, select poets will offer writing workshops to the public. The workshops will be posted on the Festival Workshops page and at Brown Paper Tickets in April.
Tickets for all other events are on sale now at www.brownpapertickets.com. Be sure to click through the dates and ticket offerings on the menu. Special discounts are available for students with ID and seniors over 65. Unless sold out, tickets will also be available at the door. Get your Early Bird ticket by March 1 and save $25.
The festival takes place in venues throughout La Conner. “The festival turns La Conner into a town filled with poetry, from its churches to its museums, its community center, and its bed and breakfasts,” says poet Susan Rich. “Where else can a person sleep, eat, live, and breathe poetry for a spring weekend?”
The festival, one of the largest celebrations of poetry on the West Coast, is put on by the Skagit River Poetry Foundation, a non-profit organization that brings poets into school classrooms year-round to promote literacy, an appreciation of language, and youth participation in culturally diverse communities. All proceeds benefit the foundation’s mission to support lifelong literacy and cultural diversity through the writing, reading, performing, and teaching of poetry in Northwest Washington schools and communities.
For more information, visit the festival website at (www.skagitriverpoetry.org), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 360-399-1550.