May 31, 2022

National Youth Poet Laureate Alyssa Gaines

Urban Word, the founding organization of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program, has announced that Alyssa Gaines has been selected as the 2022 National Youth Poet Laureate (NYPL). The four finalists were chosen from a field of more than 65 Youth Poets Laureate from across the United States. All of the poets were judged on their artistic excellence, as well as their commitment to civic engagement, youth leadership, and social impact.

The Midwest Regional Finalist and the first-ever Indianapolis Youth Poet Laureate, Gaines’s work has been featured in Scholastic’s “Best Teen Writing,” the Indianapolis Recorder, and was published by Teach for America. A recent high school graduate, she has performed in numerous theater productions and was the captain of the lacrosse team.

As the 6th NYPL, Alyssa Gaines follows Alexandra Huynh (2021), Meera Dasgupta (2020), Kara Jackson (2019), Patricia Frazier (2018), and Amanda Gorman (2017). Read an interview with Alyssa Gaines in The Indianapolis Review.

Founded in New York City in 2008, the Youth Poet Laureate Program partners with local and national literary arts organizations across the country to elevate youth voices at the forefront of social change.

on poetry

May 30, 2022

“As music isn’t just notes on a page or within an improvisatory passage, poems are not simply individual words on a page. They are collections and sequences of language that strike both familiarity — whether that be in meaning or a recognition of its form, its rhetorical scheme — and work a notable change or transformation of meaning and its scheme that defamiliarizes that which had been previously known, that makes it new, as Ezra Pound said poetry had to.”

Garrett Hongo
(b. May 30, 1951)

. . . . .

The Poetry Postcard Fest (formerly known as the August Poetry Postcard Fest) “is an annual literary event where people sign up to send 31 original poems on postcards to folks on a participation list before the end of August. The Fest was initiated in 2007 by poets Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers, and has grown to include poets participating worldwide.”

For participants, a highlight of summer is writing and sending short, daily poems and, of course, finding postcards in the mailbox day after day.

Registration for the #PPF2022 is now open and early-bird rates apply until Jun 4. Registration CLOSES July 3, 2022, and lists go out after that.

For more information, visit the Poetry Postcard Fest site (on the main page, scroll down for detailed instructions), and see some of the Fest posts that have appeared on The Poetry Department.

on poetry

May 27, 2022

“Often when I sit at my desk unable to write, ‘blocked’ as they put it, I open a [William] Stafford book and start to read. He makes it sound so easy, almost conversational, that I find I have to answer him, and so I start to write. My first four or five lines may have a Stafford ring to them, but then my own voice kicks in and I am on my way.”
Linda Pastan
(b. May 27, 1932)

. . . . .
photo copyright Carina Romano

Poetry Picnic

May 25, 2022

The Tacoma Public Library, Tacoma Creates, Write253, and The Asian Pacific Cultural Center invite you to celebrate poetry and community at a Poetry Picnic on Saturday, June 11, 2022, 11:00am to 3:00pm in South Park, Tacoma, on the grounds of The Asian Pacific Cultural Center.

The free, all-ages event will feature drop-in activities, an open mic, live readings, book sales, book giveaways, letterpress printing, oral history recording booth, the Creative Colloquy book bike, a vegetarian food truck, and more.

More new titles, plus a couple of catch-up recommendations, for your spring reading list:

on view: 2021 plaques

May 23, 2022

The planter beds in front of the Bellingham Public Library (210 Central Avenue) are decked in their spring finery, thanks to the Birchwood Garden Club. This is a great time to take a short poetry stroll and view the ten Walk Award plaques for the 2021 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. And while you’re there, stop in and see the recently remodeled library! (The 2022 plaques will probably be put in place sometime this summer.)

. . . . .
top: poem by Ty Colson
bottom: poem by Peyton Eberhardt

LiTFUSE 2022!

May 22, 2022

Great news from Tieton, Washington, this week: the LiTFUSE faculty lineup for 2022 has been announced, PLUS a new monthly reading series and open mic, Fuel, has been added to LiTFUSE programming.

For LiTFUSE 2022, September 23-25, faculty will feature keynote poet, Kim Addonizio, featured guest, Washington State Poet Laureate, Rena Priest, and additional faculty Brooke Matson, Gabrielle Bates, Robert Lashley, Xavier Cavazos, Aileen Koewn Vaux, Matt Trease, Luther Hughes, Kathryn Hunt, Lyn Coffin, Mathias Svalina, Taneum Bambrick, and Gary Copeland Lilley.

Fuel happens every fourth Wednesday at 7:00pm at the Fueling Station in Tieton. On May 25, you can hear Raúl Sánchez reading from his new book, When There Were No Borders.

Keep an eye on the LiTFUSE website or Facebook page, or get your name on the mailing list for all the latest info.

Pongo Poetry Project

May 21, 2022

From the time of its first writing group in Seattle at the Orion Center for homeless youth, in 1992, the Pongo Poetry Project has sought to use expressive arts, poetry in particular, to heal trauma in marginalized populations. Mentoring youth at the Children & Family Justice Center, King County’s juvenile detention facility, and at the Child Study & Treatment Center, Washington State’s only psychiatric hospital for youth, Pongo has served more than 6,500 individuals. A recent partnership with You Grow Girl! extends Pongo’s services to include female-identifying youth from chronically under-resourced populations.

Visit the special bimonthly column in the South Seattle Emerald to read some poems from Pongo Poetry Project participants. And if you feel inspired, get involved.

Wild & Kind

May 20, 2022

Expedition Press, a poetry-focused letterpress printshop in Kingston, Washington, has just released a new edition of “Wild & Kind” by Anis Mojgani. The timing is auspicious, as Mojgani, who has served as Oregon’s Poet Laureate since 2020, has just been reappointed to the post for another two years by Governor Kate Brown.

%d bloggers like this: