on poetry

July 31, 2019

“Maybe you’re one of those people who writes poems, but rarely reads them. Let me put this as delicately as I can: If you don’t read, your writing is going to suck.”
Kim Addonizio
(b. July 31, 1954)
. . . . .
quote: Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within
photo: Tan Lin

vending machine poetry

July 30, 2019

We’ve posted before on the subject of poetry-dispensing machines. They’re popping up around the world. For example, in Brooklyn, Chicago, Dunedin, Grenoble, Provo, and San Antonio.

Here’s another one, and it’s part of an impressive program. Poems written by incarcerated prisoners, their writing instructors, and well-known poets, are dispensed for 50 cents each from repurposed gumball machines set up in five Minnesota bookstores, including Milkweed Bookstore, Moon Palace Books, Subtext Books, and Magers & Quinn.

The Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop (MPWW), founded in 2011 by Jennifer Bowen Hicks, offers imprisoned men and women creative writing classes, a one-to-one mail mentor program, readings, publication opportunities, and more. The gumball vending machines are a low-tech fundraising effort that also raises awareness of prisoners and prison programs.

MPWW also has a robust website that includes suggestions for ways that the literary community can be more inclusive.

More MPWW on Facebook.

watching poetry

July 29, 2019

If you enjoy seeing and hearing poets, dip into the free online collection of the Library of Congress (note new logo!). The largest library in the world, the Library of Congress also hosts and records public events, which are now available for browsing and viewing.

Here, for example, is a search that includes 232 online event videos from the Poetry & Literature Center. When you’re done with those, try some other search terms. Enjoy.

high school*

July 28, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Karanjot Mann, Grade 12

all the things i do
i remember the times that were twisted,
thrilling, and situations with life turning
after all the kanye west we listened to
i knew you would be a dropout
before you even went to school
the spiraling, sizzling sauces
that juice out of that bacon
all you can think of is the thing
i got 100 situations that i’ve exploited
god i’m tired

all the things i do
puff puff puff,
darn weed
you’re a thief in the night not no chicken
no roll call but you hit me up
at three in the morning
hundred and sixty ALL GONE no insurance
butterfly doors open up through the sky
but there is no one to notice

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Karanjot Mann. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.


July 27, 2019

&NOW is a bi-annual festival of fiction, poetry, and staged play readings; literary rituals, performance pieces (digital, sound, and otherwise), electronic and multimedia projects; and inter-genre literary work of all kinds, including criti-fictional presentations and creatively critical papers. This year’s theme, Points of Convergence, invites speculation into the ways the arts might forge convergences at a moment of social, cultural, and political schism.

Keynote presenters include LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Barbara Browning, and Nathaniel Mackey.

The conference will be held at the University of Washington, Bothell. Registration is required and is now open. Early-bird pricing will continue through September 1, 2019, when prices double. One-day passes for each conference day are also available.

placards on view

July 26, 2019

The beautiful illustrated placards of the 2019 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems will be on display in the Whatcom County Library System over the coming months. Drop in to your local library to see the complete set of Walk Award and Merit Award placards. Here’s the schedule:

  • July 2019 – Deming Library
  • August 2019 – North Fork Library
  • September 2019 – Everson and Sumas Libraries
  • October 2019 – South Whatcom Library
  • November 2019 – Island Library
  • December 2019 – Ferndale Library and the Bookmobile
  • January 2020 – Lynden Library
  • February 2020 – Blaine Library
  • March 2020 – Point Roberts Library

The placards will also be displayed inside Whatcom Transportation Authority buses throughout the county.

If your travel plans include Scotland between now and October 27, 2019, you might want to add the Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art to your itinerary, where you will find Cut and Paste | 400 Years of Collage on exhibit.

“Collage is often described as a twentieth-century invention, but this show spans a period of more than 400 years and includes more than 250 works.”

Watch a video overview of the history of collage and read more in The Spectator: The women who invented collage – long before Picasso and co. Then go.

on poetry

July 24, 2019

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”
Zelda Fitzgerald
(July 24, 1900 – March 10, 1948)

. . . . .

If attending a conference with 15,000 of your closest friends was a bit daunting, consider the more personal scale of the Willamette Writers Conference, coming up in Portland, Oregon, August 1-4, 2019. About 700 writers and film and publishing industry professionals are expected to attend.

The 50th annual conference, held at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, will offer keynote addresses, master classes, workshops, one-on-one critiques, and a trade show. Registration is open.

poetry mapping

July 22, 2019

We’ve posted before on the subject of poetry maps. A new project, Places of Poetry, “aims to use creative writing to prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage and personalities of place.”

The Places of Poetry map has a distinctive 17th-century look, until you operate the slider at the bottom of the page, which turns it into a zoomable, contemporary Ordnance Survey map.

The site is open for writers to pin their poems (in English and/or Welsh) to places until October 4, 2019. It will then be closed for new poems but will remain available for readers.

There’s already plenty to keep you busy on the map. (It doesn’t look like so much until you start zooming and more and more places pop up.) Enjoy!

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