December 31, 2016


Warmest thanks to each of you for showing up here, for liking, commenting, and sharing. Thanks for sending along your own poetry news for these posts and for bringing more poetry into your community and the world. Whatever the challenges in the year ahead, poetry will help us express our doubts, certainties, and wonder, and will accompany us into our solitude and our gatherings.

Your host and companion, J.I. Kleinberg
The Poetry Department, post #2320, 31 December 2016.

what we lost

December 30, 2016


Our losses in 2016 were profound. LitHub helps us recall Notable Literary Deaths in 2016.

east of the Cascades

December 29, 2016

The Pacific Northwest Inlander

In addition to being the home of Washington State’s current poet laureate, Tod Marshall, eastern Washington has plenty of poetry going on, if this week’s special Poetry Issue of The Pacific Northwest Inlander is any indication. Have a look!

holiday bonus time

December 28, 2016

James Patterson Holiday Bonus-2015Forbes calls him “Publishing’s richest penman.” His online biography says that “he has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers.” At the rate of about a dozen books a year, on his own and with co-authors, James Patterson is a writing phenomenon.

But even as he’s creating characters and stories, he’s also finding ways to encourage readers and support literacy. Through the Patterson Family Foundation he awards scholarships to students at 22 different colleges and universities around the country. In the last ten years, he has given away more than a million books to students all over the U.S. and has visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy. In 2015, Patterson showed his gratitude to independent bookstore employees through a donation of $250,000; in 2016 he is doing the same. Patterson is partnering with the American Booksellers Association to distribute the funds, which are granted as bonuses of $1,000 to $5,000 to individual booksellers.

The holiday bonus winners are nominated locally and selected by Patterson himself. We congratulate this year’s 149 winners, including the following independent bookstore employees at some of our favorite Cascadia-region stores:

  • Caitlin Luce Baker, University Book Store, Seattle, WA
  • Erin Ball, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
  • Kenny Coble, King’s Books, Tacoma, WA
  • Madison Duckworth, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA
  • Emily Fuggetta, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
  • Kim Hooyboer, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
  • Sarah Hutton, Village Books, Bellingham, WA
  • Victoria Irwin, Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA
  • Ruby Meyers, Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR
  • Emma Nichols, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
  • Linda Watson, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

on poetry

December 27, 2016

Charles Olson
“A poem is a ‘line’ between any two points in creation.”
Charles Olson
(December 27, 1910 – January 10, 1970)

. . . . .
quote from Poetic Cosmologies: Black Mountain Poetry and Process Philosophy


December 26, 2016

New Poetry 2017

In addition to year-end best-of listings, publishers and publications have started announcing their most anticipated titles for 2017. Here are a few to start your browsing:

let your words be heard!

December 24, 2016

speak your piece on earth © j.i. kleinberg
speak your piece on earth © j.i. kleinberg (with thanks to NASA)

Pacific University OregonThe Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing program will host a week of readings by some of the best writers of contemporary literature during its residency in Seaside.

Free and open to the public, the evening readings begin at 7:30pm at the Best Western Ocean View Resort, located at 414 N. Prom in Seaside. Here’s the lineup:

Friday, January 6, 2017 ~ Chris Abani, Judy Blunt & Pete Fromm
Saturday, January 7 ~ Ellen Bass, Jack Driscoll & Cate Kennedy
Sunday, January 8 ~ Steve Amick, Craig Lesley & Joseph Millar
Monday, January 9 ~ Frank Gaspar, Mike Magnuson & Kellie Wells
Tuesday, January 10 ~ Claire Davis, Debra Gwartney & John McNally
Wednesday, January 11 ~ Marvin Bell, Scott Korb & Laura Hendrie
Thursday, January 12 ~ Kwame Dawes, Valerie Laken & David Long
Friday, January 13 ~ Sandra Alcosser & Sanjiv Bhattacharya

best-of, part 3

December 22, 2016

Best-of Season

The lists are multiplying. Here’s another round.

Support your local independent bookseller and read lots of poetry over the holidays.

taking it on the road

December 21, 2016

Chinese truck with poetry

If your poems aren’t getting enough attention, you might consider doing what truck driver He Xianwei did: write them on your vehicle. According to a UPI article, “He said he frequently writes and recites poems and song lyrics while driving, so he decided to publicize his work in the hopes of drawing attention to his writings.”