on poetry

March 31, 2020


“The real writer is one who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire. Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.”
Marge Piercy
(b. March 31, 1936)

. . . . .
photo

for your watch list

March 30, 2020

If you missed this documentary by Paul Devlin when it came out in 1998, you may want to add it to your watch list. SlamNation follows New York City’s novice Nuyorican Poetry Slam team (Saul Williams, Beau Sia, muMs da Schemer, Jessica Care Moore, Marc Smith, Taylor Mali, and more) on its journey to join over 120 spoken word artists on 27 city teams at the 1996 National Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon.

video poem

March 29, 2020

With special thanks to Bellingham BTV Channel 10, a number of the 2019 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poets were able to record their poems for broadcast. Today we feature Stephany Vogel reading “Hope in Late Summer.”

are you ready?

March 28, 2020

Poets, sharpen your quills. It’s almost National Poetry Month and that means it’s almost National/Global Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo or GloPoWriMo). Again this year, Maureen Thorson invites you to register (it’s free) for prompts and encouragement and to post your poems.

If you don’t want to follow those prompts, there are plenty of other ways to get your poems going. Some people start or join 30/30 duos or groups. Some poets commit to a theme for the month’s poems. You could sneak over to the internet and grab this list of 30 prompts by Kelli Russell Agodon. Robert Lee Brewer has again posted the annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge on Poetic Asides at Writer’s Digest. Daily prompts will begin on March 30 at Poetry Super Highway. And while National Novel Writing Month doesn’t officially begin until November, the NaNoWriMo folks are concerned about your well-being, so they have started a new initiative that includes daily prompts: #StayHomeWriMo.

However you choose to meet the challenge, get ready: 30 poems in 30 days. You can do it.

If you’re missing the voices of poetry, tune in tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, 2020, at 8:00pm Pacific, to the first broadcast of the Red Hen Press Poetry Hour, live on Facebook. Presented by The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College, the At Home series will combine livestreamed performances, interviews and archival footage.

In our first episode of the Red Hen Press Poetry Hour, The Broad Stage Artistic and Executive Director Rob Bailis, Red Hen Press Executive Director Kate Gale and California state poet laureate Dana Gioia talk — from their respective living rooms — about how poetry responds during a time like this, while poets Douglas Manuel, Francesca Bell and Brendan Constantine share their poetry and their kitchens with us! You’ll also see selections of previously recorded videos from Blank Verse Films. Hosted by award-winning writer Sandra Tsing Loh.

More about this and other At Home programs here. More about Red Hen Press here. Tune in to the Red Hen Press Poetry Hour here.

. . . . .
thanks to Sally Lappen for the heads-up on this one!

six days and counting

March 26, 2020

If it feels like everything around you has been cancelled, think again: the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is still happening and still wants your poems!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020, is the last day to submit, and because the drop-off venues are closed, submissions must come by mail or, preferably, email.

The awards ceremony, originally scheduled for May 14, will be rescheduled for a fall date to be announced. But the judges will read submissions, make their selections, and notify the winners by the end of April.

This is an all-ages, Whatcom County, Washington, contest, and a great thing to do if you happen to be staying at home quite a lot. Six days and counting. One poem per person. Read the guidelines and submit!

shelter in poems

March 25, 2020

The Academy of American Poets (poets.org) invites the public to join in an initiative for our times: Shelter in Poems.

To participate, select a poem that gives you hope from the Poets.org collection and post a sentence or two about why the poem inspires you on social media with the hashtag #ShelterinPoems. The Academy will be considering responses and gathering the poems and testimonials in a special newsletter and sharing it online each week. Additionally, if you are moved to record a one-minute video of yourself offering the name of the poem and your statement, the Academy will also be selecting videos to share.

East Whatcom County community radio station KAVZ-LP, broadcasting 24 hours a day from beautiful downtown Van Zandt, is seeking writers and poets to submit poetry, prose, non-fiction, and plays to be broadcast and stream on the World Wide Web on the program South Fork Speaks. Recordings of 25 to 30 minutes may include the work of one or more writers, but “Be aware of your copyrights or they may be lost to you forever.” All the details are on the South Fork Speaks page.

. . . . .
Thanks to Whatcom Writers & Publishers for the heads-up

If you, like many of us, are feeling the need to reach out during the current crisis, the August POetry POstcard Fest has a new look, a new website, and a new, expansive calendar of possibilities.

The principle is the same:

  1. Register any time between now and July 18, 2020.
  2. Collect or make at least 31 postcards.
  3. Get some postage stamps (including international, since this is a worldwide project; current international rate is $1.20US). (In the U.S., stamps haven’t required licking for a long time, so don’t worry about that problem.)
  4. Starting on March 19, 2020, participant lists will be emailed. Your list will include 32 names and addresses, including your own (which you should, of course, check for correctness).
  5. Once you get your list (or whenever you want), start writing original poems each day, directly onto a postcard. Be spontaneous. Trust your first draft.
  6. Address your first card to the name immediately below yours on the list of poets, and move down the list from there, one POetry POstcard per person.
  7. How you schedule your postcards is up to you. You can start immediately, spread them out, or wait and send a card each day during the more traditional month of August.

There’s a lot more information, including some courtesy protocols and other resources, on the POPO.cards site.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Poetry Out Loud

March 22, 2020


(from left) Tamar Krames, ArtsWA Arts in Education Program Manager; Madeline Luther, a senior from Okanagon High School and first runner-up; Jordan Mattox, junior at Mead High School and state champion; Karen Hanan, ArtsWA Executive Director. Photograph by Pavel Verbovski.

Jordan Mattox, a junior at Mead High School in Spokane, is the 2020 Poetry Out Loud Washington State Champion. She was among 12 high school students who competed at the State Final held March 7, 2020, at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

“I didn’t start off absolutely loving poetry, but once you find a poem that really resonates with you, your appreciation for just literature in general can be deepened so quickly. That’s what happened to me,” said Jordan. “It’s such a great way for one to express themselves and it’s a way to share with other people things that are important to you — it’s why Poetry Out Loud is so important to me.”

The first runner-up was Madeline Luther, a senior from Okanogan High School in Okanogan and last year’s champion. Honorable mentions went to Yeshi Berry, a senior at Vancouver School for Arts and Academics in Vancouver; Mercy Haub, a sophomore at Shorewood High School in Shoreline; and Cooper Siems, a freshman at Concordia Christian Academy in Tacoma.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is the coordinating agency in our state. All participating students choose and memorize poems from the official Poetry Out Loud anthology. At the state and national finals, students are required to have three poems prepared. Jordan Mattox’s poems included “Art vs. Trade” by James Weldon Johnson, and “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest, with “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb as the final recitation.

Jordan Mattox will receive an award of $200 and Mead High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. First runner-up, Madeline Luther, will receive $100, with $200 for her school’s library. The State Champion would normally advance to the National Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, DC, but that event, scheduled for late April, has unfortunately been cancelled.

Congratulations to Jordan Mattox, and to all the Poetry Out Loud competitors. Watch Jordan recite “Art vs. Trade” by James Weldon Johnson.

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