read some finalists

August 31, 2021

The winners of the 2021 BC and Yukon Book Prizes will be announced at an online gala on Saturday, September 25, 2021, but you don’t have to wait to start reading the five finalists for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Music for the Dead and Resurrected by Valzhyna Mort and The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin were announced in June as the International and Canadian winners of the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize, but the entire shortlist is worth your attention.

You can also see the Poetry Society of America awards list.

more public poetry

August 30, 2021

Opiemme is the street name of an Italian artist who creates site-specific public poetry, often in collaboration with other artists and community members. The artist also creates smaller-scale gallery works. See more on the Opiemme website, Brooklyn Street Art and on Facebook.

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photo by Opiemme

visible language

August 29, 2021

Forced Entertainment is a group of six theatre and performance artists based in Sheffield, England. The group’s artistic director, Tim Etchells, is a visual artist and writer known for his performances, installations, and neon artworks. The latter are large-scale, often temporary pieces that explore “contradictory aspects of language — the speed, clarity and vividness with which it communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time its amazing propensity to create a rich field of uncertainty and ambiguity.” Browse some of Tim Etchells’s projects.

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image by Colin Davison

on poetry

August 28, 2021

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832)

. . . . .
portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler

keep reading!

August 27, 2021

As we wrap up the final days of the August Poetry Postcard Fest* and the #SealeyChallenge, there is still plenty of reading (and writing) to be done. Here are more titles for your list:

*If you’re interested, there will be a post-postcard fest open mic on Zoom on Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 10:00am Pacific.

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Thanks to Sheila Sondik for the CBC alert!


August 24, 2021

A poetry post for jigsaw puzzle fans.

Located on the shores of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum offers 66 acres of year-round horticultural beauty. If you don’t happen to be in Dallas and need a little dose of color, there’s plenty to enjoy online. (They even have a selection of downloadable images you can use for your Zoom background!)

The arboretum also includes a Poetry Garden of classical design, with lots of roses, and while the garden doesn’t appear to have any literary content, you can assemble a jigsaw puzzle of the Poetry Garden on this page (about halfway down, where it says August 24: Poetry Garden).

reading tonight!

August 23, 2021

Join, host Derek Sheffield, and three stellar readers this evening, Monday, August 23, 2021, 5:00pm Arizona/Pacific, for a free reading and Q & A in the online Reading Series. The featured readers are Alison Hawthorne Deming, Suzanne S. Rancourt, and Anne Haven McDonnell.

Alison Hawthorne Deming, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship among other awards, is retired Regents Professor at the University of Arizona. Her new nonfiction book A Woven World: On Fashion, Fishermen, and the Sardine Dress will be out from Counterpoint in August. Her most recent books are the poetry collection Stairway to Heaven and the essay collection Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit.

Suzanne S. Rancourt is of Abenaki/Huron descent. Her debut collection of poems, Billboard in the Clouds, won the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award. murmurs at the gate was published in 2019 and Old Stones, New Roads was published in 2021. An aikido and Iaido practitioner, Suzanne holds graduate degrees in psychology and creative writing, and is a multimodal Expressive Arts therapist. She is a USMC and Army veteran.

Anne Haven McDonnell lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and teaches as associate professor in English and creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her poetry has been published in Orion, The Georgia Review, Narrative Magazine, Nimrod Journal,, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual poetry prize, second place in Narrative Magazine’s 12th Annual Poetry Contest, and second place for the Gingko international ecopoetry prize. Her chapbook Living with Wolves was published with Split Rock Press in fall 2020. Her full-length manuscript has been a finalist for the Levis Poetry Prize, the Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize, and the Hopper Poetry Prize. Anne has been a writer-in-residence and at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.

This should be good. Register here for Zoom access.

on poetry

August 21, 2021

“The best piece of advice that I was given, you know, and I was given this by my parents over the years, for any writer that is looking to capture their experiences, their imagination and put it down on the page, I would say three things. I’d say, one, read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Don’t just read in the genre that you’re writing in. Read.

“Inform yourself. Enhance your worldview. The second thing I would say, and you’re probably not going to like hearing this, I would say read. I would say read, you know, read something fun. You know, I’d say read something that you’re interested in. Go to the bookstore. Go to the library, you know. Check out a great book, you know. You may not like the first book you read, but there’s so many more. And the last piece of advice — I’ve never shared this with anyone. Read. You want to be a better writer? Read.”
Kwame Alexander
(b. August 21, 1968)

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meanwhile on Vashon Island

August 20, 2021

Back in 2016, we introduced the Vashon Poetry Post in a conversation with Vashon Island’s inaugural poet laureate, Ann Spiers. The Poetry Post is still there, and so is Ann Spiers, who is busier than ever, though Sandra Noel has recently been appointed poet laureate.

In fact, Spiers has a brand-new, full-length book of poems, Rain Violent, published by Empty Bowl Press.

On a recent hot, smoky day, Elizabeth Shepherd sat in her battery-operated, air-conditioned Nissan Leaf to write this review of Spiers’s collection, which we happened upon in the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber.

It’s not the easiest time to launch a book, so we’re happy to see that Rain Violent is available through Empty Bowl and independent bookstores everywhere.

Cirque in Bellingham

August 19, 2021

Cirque Press and Cirque Journal come to Bellingham tomorrow, Friday, August 20, 2021, 7:00pm Pacific, for a real, in-person reading (and a no-host bar) at the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room.

Mount Baker Theatre requires masks and either a Proof of Vaccination or evidence of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event.

The reading will also be available on Zoom (code 1111).

Cirque Press authors Jerry McDonnell and Dave Rowan will read from Out There in the Out There and Loggers Don’t Make Love, respectively, followed by readings from Cirque, Volume 11, No. 2, featuring Luther Allen, Kristina Boratino, Linda Conroy, Jenifer Fernandez, Sandra Kleven, David M. Laws, John Morgan, Corbin Muck, David Rowan, Alan Weltzien, and others.

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