on poetry

May 21, 2016

Robert Creeley“Still, no one finally knows what a poet is supposed either to be or to do.”
Robert Creeley
(May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005)
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Chuckanut Writers Conference

This is a guest post by Helen Pendergast.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent Van Gogh

What are the top five things on your bucket list? Is one of them to start sharing your story again? Well, luckily, the Chuckanut Writers Conference is back: a two-day event held at Whatcom Community College over the weekend of June 24-25, 2016. This conference brings together a wide range of writers and authors from all over the Northwest, with the aim of giving skills and tools to anyone at any level of experience with writing.

This year’s faculty is made up of nineteen incredible authors, agents, and publishing consultants who are offering a diverse chain of breakout sessions, author readings, pitch sessions, master classes, and keynote addresses. With so much happening, it’s going to be a jam-packed literary extravaganza!

We are rounding the corner on our sixth year, and are excited to see not only familiar faces, but new ones as well. A past conference attendee, Jordan Kubichek, had this to say about the experience: “I have attended this conference for the past four years. The information is always new and invaluable.”

If you want to get productive and creative this summer, I definitely recommend getting your feet wet and jumping straight into Bellingham’s literary community; we are family here, and we would like to make you a part of it! Together, as a writing community, we can write great things.
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Helen PendergastHelen Pendergast is a recent graduate from WWU; she received her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and is continually intrigued to meet new people all over the world in hopes to understand more about their stories. She is a poet, a lover of reading, and loves to be out in nature, preferably a thick grove of trees. It might surprise you but she is an avid billiards player too.

Typewriter Troubadour by Andrea Corradini

Now and then we like to update you on the practice of making poetry in public that has rescued typewriters from extinction and given voice to numerous poets. Here are a few additions to the list:

What’s happening on your keyboard?

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Typewriter Troubadour photo by Andrea Corradini

Larry on the Lawn

May 18, 2016

O, Miami

We recently mentioned Poems to the Sky, a project of O, Miami. Here’s another: Larry on the Lawn: Lyrical Signs for Political Times. (Text from O, Miami.)

A political election year means a storm of rectangular signs strewn across South Florida lawns, each one advocating for its candidate. To inject some poetry into this prosaic landscape, Yo ❤ 305 and O, Miami have combined to create, “Larry on the Lawn,” a series of original campaign lawn signs featuring excerpts from the work of deceased American poet Larry Levis. Levis, born in Fresno to a family of grape farmers, died of a heart attack in 1996 (age 49) as a relatively unknown American master. The series of lawn signs, generously hosted by business and home-owners in Miami-Dade County, introduces Levis’s beauty and genius to citizens who, expecting the familiar, encounter strange and somewhat detached messages with no simple agenda or demand. During this election season, as the American political system attempts to put us all into very specific boxes, “Larry on the Lawn” reminds us that we are all more complex than a series of penciled-in bubbles.

See more Larry on the Lawn photos on Facebook.

House poetry

May 17, 2016

Where the House Was

Poet Frances McCue was one of the founders of Hugo House and is currently making a documentary film about the history of 1634 11th Avenue, including the building’s previous, um, life as a funeral parlor and its forthcoming demolition to make way for a mixed-use apartment building. The film, Where the House Was, is built around a long poem.

On Thursday, May 19, 2016, at 7:30pm, McCue will give the first public reading of selections from the poem — one of the final events at the current Hugo House location. She will be joined by Rebecca Brown, a Lambda-award-winning author who served as Hugo House’s inaugural writer-in-residence, and Lori Goldston, a self-described “classically trained and rigorously de-trained” cellist who is perhaps best known around Seattle for her work on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set. The “opening act” will be a reading by Cali Kopczick and Jack Chelgren.

More details on the Hugo House site, on the Facebook event page and on the Where the House Was site from Team Demo Hugo.

You can keep track of the Hugo House move here.

Expedition Press

On Sunday, May 22, 2016, poet Holly J. Hughes will offer a reading from her brand new chapbook, Passings (Expedition Press). Of her book, Holly Hughes says,

“This is a collection of poems I began years ago with a poem for Martha, the last passenger pigeon. That lead to another and another….with the result that this collection brings together poems about fifteen extinct birds, from the dodo to the O’o. I added a preface to provide context and an afterword with information on what we can do to protect the species that remain. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Expedition Press in Kingston, who published it in two limited editions: a trade copy bound by hand with a letterpress cover on recycled paper and a deluxe copy with covers of handmade paper and an archival slip case.”

Join Holly J. Hughes and friends on the 22nd at 4:00pm at Village Books.
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Emily Dickinson silhouette

Today, May 15, 2016, marks the 130th anniversary of Emily Dickinson’s death. In case you missed it, “The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson” appeared in the Science section of The New York Times this week, describing the work underway in the gardens, orchard and greenhouse at Dickinson’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Archaeologists are examining the property for clues about the position and contents of the poet’s garden, which the Emily Dickinson Museum hopes to restore by the end of the year. This project offers more than the re-creation of a pretty site. As author Ferris Jabr says of Dickinson’s combined interests in botany and poetry, “Her passion for all things botanical is essential for a complete understanding of her personality, spirituality and verse.”

Read the article.

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Silhouette of Emily Dickinson cut by Charles Temple, 1845

Rainier Arts Center reading

For your calendar: Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 7:30pm, the Rainier Arts Center (Seattle) presents Tod Marshall and guests. Enjoy an evening of poetry and conversation with Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall and special guests Claudia Castro Luna, Oliver de la Paz, and Sierra Golden. See the Facebook event page for poet profiles and other details. Should be good!

good news

May 13, 2016

Third Place Books

For those of us who love words, and books, and print in its many forms, and people who create and nurture those things, the opening of a new independent bookstore is indeed good news. Third Place Books, which has been a stalwart of independence since the first store opened in Lake Forest Park in 1998, has announced the opening of a third store, in Seward Park.

The new store, at 5041 Wilson Avenue South, will offer 15 to 20,000 titles, an event/reading space, a separate children’s department, an espresso bar, a full restaurant and a full bar.

Join in the celebration of the Grand Opening on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Watch for details on Facebook.

McCracken - sproutIn addition to the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest awards this evening, there’s also Having Faith in a Seed at the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher: a conversation about art and poetry with Paul Hansen, James Bertolino and Anita K. Boyle, plus a poetry performance in the gallery surrounded by the artwork of Philip McCracken. 6:30pm.