Amidst plenty of gloomy financial news, the Academy of American Poets has announced awards of $50,000 each to 23 Poets Laureate of states, cities, counties, and the Navajo Nation. Funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program is in its second year, with expanded coverage and a change in focus, as poets are subject to travel restrictions and other distancing requirements. You may recall that Claudia Castro Luna’s One River, A Thousand Names project was funded last year.

Cascadia’s sole winner this year is Susan Landgraf, Poet Laureate of Auburn, Washington. A poet and journalist, Landgraf is the author of What We Bury Changes the Ground (Tebot Bach, 2017). She will partner with the Muckleshoot Tribe and Reservation and the City of Auburn to offer poetry workshops at the Tribal School and in the Auburn Public Schools Tribal Programs, as well as for adults and children at the Tribal Center. The project will culminate in a book of participants’ poems, as well as a series of readings on the Reservation, in the City of Auburn, and at the State Capitol.

Congratulations to Susan and all of this year’s grantees!

on poetry

May 30, 2020

“In order for a writer to succeed, I suggest three things — read and write — and wait.”
Countee Cullen
(May 30, 1903 – January 9, 1946)

. . . . .
photo by Carl Van Vechten

If you’ve always wanted to attend the Chuckanut Writers Conference but just couldn’t swing it geographically, here comes your opportunity! CWC 2020 will be held online, Monday, June 22, 2020, through Thursday, June 25, with a faculty reading on the 26th and master classes on the 27th. See the complete schedule, faculty profiles, and registration information at CWC 2020.

Since early April, poet Carol Ann Duffy has been choosing and posting poems from her library to comfort and inspire in times of isolation. Each Thursday, a new poem is published with minimal commentary in The Guardian’s Poems to get us through.

see art

May 27, 2020

Seattle was one of the first cities in the United States to adopt a percent-for-art ordinance, in 1973. Since that time, the city has amassed a collection that includes more than 400 permanently sited and integrated works and nearly 3,000 portable works. Now the entire collection is available for viewing at the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Civic Art Collection. Let the ekphrastic poetry begin!

Zooming Plath

May 26, 2020

If you’re interested in Sylvia Plath, you may want to attend a two-part Zoomposium presented by Plath author Peter K. Steinberg with co-author Gail Crowther and a series of speakers.

The first session will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 7:00am Pacific, and the second on Saturday, June 6, same time. Registration is required, but it appears that the sessions are free.

for the romantics…

May 25, 2020

In case you missed the story in The Guardian, or on social media, A love in verse is a 25-year, love-poem-a-day gift from Peter Gordon to his wife, Alison, and now to readers everywhere.

on poetry

May 24, 2020

“I write what I have to write, with no expectations except that I might be lucky enough to figure out what it is I need/want to say. I feel fortunate to have been published but I don’t think of that when I start something new. I just try to keep up a sense of discovery and wonder as I move through one poem after another. I have the most fun when I get an idea that takes me beyond the single solitary poem and into a series of them, perhaps a whole book of them. I think that’s because I love a stone with facets. ‘See how many ends this stick has,’ Montaigne wrote. How many ways are there to look at a blackbird, a vegetable garden, a cockroach, a pond in winter? That’s what fascinates me.”
Lorna Crozier
(b. May 24, 1948)

. . . . .
photo by Kamil Bialous

Poetic Shelters

May 22, 2020

The ever-busy, ever-imaginative Claudia Castro Luna, Washington State’s Poet Laureate, has introduced a new project for these times: Poetic Shelters.

“This project asks you to consider the poetics of your home and how its physical and emotional character is changing during this time. The home, whatever that may be for someone, is a space we each know intimately and can therefore represent poetically by sharing our memories, frustrations, daydreams, and also by by describing its physical configuration.”

Poems, mini-essays, and accompanying photos, if available, are invited. While Poetic Shelters is Washington-centric, contributors from other locations are welcome to submit.

Visit Poetic Shelters for more information and to read a sampling of poems.

meanwhile, in Buffalo

May 21, 2020

In Buffalo, New York, the doors of the Just Buffalo Literary Center are closed. But poetry is still on view thanks to the new Sidewalk Poetry program. Several times a week, new poems are spray chalked (who knew?) on sidewalks around town. The poets all have a connection to Buffalo, including Lucille Clifton, who grew up there and whose “New Bones” appears above. Nice!

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