January 31, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Steve Hood

Panda bears of the sea, killer whales
like to eat seals that eat fish that eat plankton.

Orcas like to jump into the air like majestic
reminders of the beauty of nature.

Blue skies, clouds, San Juan Islands
mark the world whales can only glimpse

before they return to their cold, liquid
home in the vast ocean at the dawn

of a new day on Earth as the watery globe
turns slowly in outer space.

*Copyright 2020 by Steve Hood. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Monday at 7

January 30, 2021

This good news just in: artist and poet Anita K. Boyle will read from her new book, Why Horses (MoonPath Press, 2020) on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific on Zoom (p: 664442).

The at-home, online, monthly Monday Night Poetry event with Northwest Renaissance Poets and Striped Water Poets will include a 20-minute featured reading by Anita followed by a round-robin open mic. The reading will be recorded and posted afterwards to the Northwest Renaissance Poets Facebook page.

Find Why Horses at your local independent bookstore. Here’s more on Anita K. Boyle, Why Horses, and MoonPath Press, and here’s the event on Facebook.

Don’t miss this one.

a weekend of ecopoetry

January 28, 2021

The 25th Annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival begins this Friday, January 29, 2021, and promises three days of poetry with commentary on climate change, environmental justice, and our place in nature. The events are free on Zoom with advance registration and will feature California ecopoets as well as an open reading session. See the full schedule on Poetry Flash.

Night of Ideas

January 27, 2021

Thursday, January 28, 2021, is Night of Ideas, a 24-hour virtual marathon of philosophical debate and artistic performances produced in 75 countries around the world, coordinated by the Institut Français, Paris, and co-produced by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.

The entire 24-hour program, which begins at midnight tonight Pacific time and is free, will stream live globally and the U.S. segment will begin at 6:30pm Eastern / 3:00pm Pacific as Patti Smith Imagines the Night with a poetic and musical performance.

See more on Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and Night of Ideas.

more workshops!

January 26, 2021

The Sue Boynton Poetry Contest has added another workshop to the 2021 calendar: Beyond the Mask: Possibilities and Pitfalls of Persona. Taught by the accomplished Alexandra Teague, the workshop will explore the ways in which writing in another’s voice “may offer complicated perspectives and/or a more embodied or truer version of a self, as well as some of the ethics and potential pitfalls of speaking as another.” The workshop will be held online on Saturday, March 27, 2021, 2:00-4:00pm. See the complete description and registration information on the Workshops page.

Also, a reminder that there is still time to register for the February 6 Kathryn Smith workshop, I Get Where You’re Coming From: Maps as a Framework for Poetry. Again, please refer to the Workshops page for full details.

These modestly priced workshops benefit the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest. No previous poetry experience is required and anyone with an internet connection is welcome to attend.

Today is the birthday of Robert Burns (January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796), national poet of Scotland. The bard’s birthplace and early residence, Burns Cottage, in Alloway, South Ayrshire Council, Scotland, is a site of pilgrimage for many travelers, but Atlas Obscura suggests there’s more to be seen: on the ten-minute walk between Burns Cottage and the Burns Museum, the Poet’s Path illustrates Burns’s epic poem, Tam O’Shanter, with a series of wrought iron weathervanes. See more photos and extracts from the poem on Scotiana.

For Terry
2020 Merit Award
By Joshua Hilderbrand

The day you died I woke up at 530 am. Brushed my teeth
in a metal shipping container with no windows.
The day you died I got ready. Uniform/Boots/LBV/Kevlar.
I wore both plates, front and back.
The day you died we loaded the truck
full of letters/packages/cookies
from home, whisky smuggled in teddy bears, art supplies.
The day you died we were delayed by a suicide bomber.
This was the first time, that day,
I would think about my own death.
The day you died we drove our route.
RPG’s/roadside bombs/ small arms/mortars.
A few of the packages flew into the road.
The day you died we killed 13 people.
My knees knocked while in the box formation.
The day you died it was still dark in Spokane. In Iraq,
the sun was working over my face.
The day you died you tried to hold on until sunrise.
Maybe you thought the pills would be slower.
Maybe I didn’t let go in time.
I didn’t know you needed the morning
pinks and blues. I just needed to see through the smoke
long enough to get back into the truck and drive home.
My knees wouldn’t stop knocking.

*Copyright 2020 by Josh Hilderbrand. Broadside illustrated Kim Wulfestieg.

new poetry

January 23, 2021

Newly published poetry books are on the shelves, and with in-person launches still unavailable, poets hope you’ll find your way to their titles and help spread the word. Here are some recommended new releases for early 2021:

These selections are, of course, in addition to the book that’s on the top of everyone’s list right now: The Hill We Climb and Other Poems by Amanda Gorman.

do you zine?

January 22, 2021

If you live in Washington State and make zines, the Washington Center for the Book and 6th Annual Washington State Zine Contest invite you to submit by February 26, 2021. Prizes! Guidelines! Submit!

on poetry

January 20, 2021

“try to put the poetry in the language that we speak, to use that language, take those simple words and make out of them something that is moving, that is powerful, that is there.”
Pat Parker
(January 20, 1944 – June 17, 1989)

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