the last Raven

July 31, 2018

Marking the end of an era that began in 1991, Raven Chronicles, Volume 26: Last Call is the literary journal’s final scheduled printing:

In a bar, “last call” means your last chance to order a drink. This is important, because the next public announcement will be the bar closing and you and your friends heading for the door. Well, this is our last call, at least for the near future. The Raven Chronicles, after chronicling the literary antics of tricksters and dreamers, the under-heard, the underserved (and probably underage), since 1991, will no longer publish a regularly-scheduled, subscription-based magazine. Yes, you read that right: the chronicles part of The Raven Chronicles is subsiding back into the northwest tree pulp from whence it came.

You can help celebrate all that Raven is and has been at a reading on Friday, August 3, 2018, at The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, with Anna Balint (emcee), Recovery Café’s Safe Place Writing Circle members Cathy Scott, Megan McInnis, and Elliott Villarreal; and Chris Buckley, T. Clear, Joan Fiset, Steve Griggs, Mare Heron Hake, Thomas Hubbard, Paul Hunter, Anna Odessa Linzer, John Mifsud, Jed Myers, Vaibhav Saini (from Farmington, CT), Marianne Weltmann, Carletta Carrington Wilson, and Danae Wright.

. . . . .
cover photo by Alfredo Arreguín

sendoff show and party

July 30, 2018

Seattle Poetry Slam is sending a team to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago to compete against teams from 96 other cities. Last year, Seattle Poetry Slam placed in the top 25 teams (of 96) and the year before in the top 20!

On Tuesday, July 31, 2018, the 2018 Seattle Poetry Slam National Team (Rio Chanae, Ben Yisrael, Ebo Barton, and Garfield Hillson) will showcase their competition poetry at a show, party, and fundraiser to help cover travel and lodging costs for the poets.

It’s all happening at The Royal Room in Seattle. Doors at 7:00pm, show at 8:00pm. Advance ticketing only.

Cup of Tea*

July 29, 2018

2018 Walk Award
By Alandra Barker

She says,
being married is like holding a hot cup of tea
and being worried that you’re going to sneeze.

I think, if marriage is a cup of tea,
I know it’s my favorite kind.
The kind that makes you feel whole and warm
from the inside out after a long, cold day.
But then I think, it’s not the same for everyone;
maybe it’s the resentment that builds
from holding back that sneeze because you don’t want
to get burned. OR MAYBE,
the tea is the only thing that makes you feel better
every time that sneeze starts to irritate your nose,
and the tea is your relief and a sense of security.

It seems to apply to every possibility.
So I guess that makes it the perfect analogy,

but I don’t know which one she meant.

I say,
being married is like thinking you can swim, but realizing
you don’t…
after you’ve jumped in the water.

. . . . .
Alandra Barker is a junior at Western Washington University studying Linguistics with a concentration in Anthropology, who also happens to have a passion for poetry and literature. Alandra likes to spend her free time exploring the parks, trails, and beaches of Bellingham with her wife and dog.

“Cup of Tea” was written as a sort of response to an analogy that her wife used to explain marriage to a coworker. “I just remember her coming home and telling me about this conversation that she had, and I thought about it for days. This poem was written mostly in my head over the course of weeks as a way to process how I felt about it.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Alandra Barker. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

This is a guest post by Carey Taylor.

You write poems. You workshop poems. You submit poems to literary journals and some get accepted. Finally, you have a collection for a book and a small press publishes it. Then, just before it is scheduled for release you realize you have no promotion plan and you start to panic.

Don’t. Just order Jeannine Hall Gailey’s book, PR for Poets – A Guidebook to Publicity and Marketing (Two Sylvias Press, 2018) and start reading. You will find you can breathe again, and you will have hope that if you follow her advice someone might actually read your poems.

PR for Poets is a book stuffed with ideas and practical strategies to begin either a dive into the deep end or a wade into the kiddie pool of promoting your work, with assurances from Gailey that starting at either place, or anywhere in between, is just fine.

After years as a successful author, Gailey shares from her own experience tips and detailed examples of how to get your poems out into the world. While there are too many tips to share here, I have included four suggestions from PR for Poets I myself have found helpful.

  1. Set up a website. I did this when I first started writing poems. I am glad I did as I would be overwhelmed doing this with a new book release. It also allows you to slowly build a community of followers.
  2. Order business cards. This seems basic, but it is a great way to promote your book/work and have all your contact/social media information easily available when people ask for it.
  3. Set up a Facebook “page” separate from your personal account. This allows you to build a poetry-only community, to both share your work and to support other poets.
  4. Plan a launch party. As Gailey says: many people aren’t excited about poetry readings, but no one hates a party! Frankly, writing a book is a lot of work, and if you have done that, you deserve some cake and bubbly.

Reading PR for Poets is like having coffee with a best friend who shares all their hard earned secrets with you because they want you to be successful too. I highly recommend this book for all poets serious about promoting their work.

. . . . .

Carey Taylor is a poet from Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has appeared in Cirque, Clover: A Literary Rag, Off the Coast, Snapdragon, Dodging the Rain (Ireland) and others. She is the author of The Lure of Impermanence (Cirque Press, 2018) and when not worrying about earthquakes she enjoys hiking, traveling and a good scotch whisky. You can find her at or on Facebook @Cascadia.Poet. You can also hear Carey Taylor read from The Lure of Impermanence on Friday, August 17, 2018, 7:00pm, Tsuga Gallery, Bothell, WA, and Tuesday, August 28, 7:00pm, at the Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham, WA.

on poetry

July 27, 2018

“I live for those moments when language itself takes over the enterprise, and insight races ahead of knowledge. Occasionally I have things to say, or there is something I want to describe. But these are not my main reasons for writing.”
Michael Longley
(b. July 27, 1939)

. . . . .
photo by Bobbie Hanvey

the research

July 26, 2018

It seems that what your instructors have been telling you all along is true: to connect with your readers, vivid imagery is important.

University researchers asked 400 participants to

read and rate poems of two genres — haiku and sonnet — with the aim of understanding the factors that best predicted the aesthetic appeal of the poems. After reading each poem, participants answered questions about the poem’s vividness, emotional arousal, emotional valence, and aesthetic appeal.

Their results showed that vividness of mental imagery was the best predictor of aesthetic appeal — poems that evoked greater imagery were more pleasing.

Read more about the study, the results, and the poems in this NYU news post.

If you are planning a trip to Manhattan, schedule a visit to the Transit Museum at Grand Central Terminal to see Poetry in Motion at 25. The exhibit celebrates 25 years of poetry displayed on subways and buses and features a broad range of the original Poetry in Motion car cards that have appeared in the New York City Transit system. See it by October 28, 2018.

More about Poetry in Motion here.

Residents of Whatcom County are invited to submit a poem for the quarterly POEM BOOTH poetry contest. The winning poem will be displayed for three months in the Poem Booth located in downtown Bellingham outside the Community Food Co-op, next to the community board on Forest Street. The winning poet will receive $25 cash and a $25 gift certificate to the Community Food Co-op. Read the full guidelines and winning poems and other submissions, and learn more on the Poem Booth Bellingham website. Deadline is Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

Menopause, the poem*

July 22, 2018

2018 Merit Award
By Barbara Weed

We arrive, tempest-tossed,
way up the beach.
Alive, thriving, and dried.

Hormones are oceans
Of push-pull emotions.
Amazingly, gratefully, spent.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Barbara Weed. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Today in Kirkland!

July 21, 2018

There’s still time to get on over to BookTree in Kirkland, Washington, for today’s highly recommended workshop, reading, open mic, and music featuring poet/musician/psychiatrist Jed Myers.

The free workshop, “Putting Your Heart on the Line,” 4:30 to 6:00pm, will integrate some talk, some writing, and possibly some reading of what participants write. Then from 6:15 to 8:18pm the poetry reading and open mic will feature Jed Myers and the Band of Poets — Ted McMahon (percussion), Rosanne Olson (harmonica, guitar), Anna Jenkins (harp), John Burgess (various effects), and Jed Myers (guitar).

You’ll have a chance to see (and purchase?) a copy of the gorgeous, brand new book by Myers, Between Dreams and Flesh, published and handmade by Egress Studio Press.