Zoom Tuesday with Cirque

February 28, 2023

The latest issue of Cirque, Volume 13, Number 1, is now available online and for purchase. You can hear voices from this issue, plus readings from four new Cirque Press books, this evening, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 7:00pm Pacific (6:00pm Alaska), on Zoom.

You can also pick up a copy of Cirque next week at AWP at the Cirque Press book fair booth (#119) or at their off-site reading, Friday, March 10, 2023, at 7:00pm, at Northlake Lutheran Church in Kenmore.

As you probably know, AWP is coming to Seattle next week, March 8-11, 2023. In addition to the panels, book fair, readings, signings, exhibits, and keynote speakers, the conference bursts at the seams, with an abundance of off-site events. Below are just a few of the off-site gatherings that will take place on Wednesday, March 8. For a complete list of all events, all days, visit the 2023 Off-Site Event Schedule.

Beerhall Book Fair – 4:00pm – 11:00pm – at Optimism Brewing Company
Join nine independent publishers for a day of poems and stories, beers and readings! Browse books while sipping your favorite bubbly beverage in Optimism’s light-filled space, on Broadway in the Capitol Hill Arts District. Drop by any time! Readings from press contributors throughout the event, with books available for signing. Participating presses include: Perugia, CavanKerry, Beyond the Veil, Headmistress, MoonPath, Lost Horse, Blue Cactus, Birch Rosen, and your host, Papeachu Press.

WNP Offsite – 6:00-10:00pm – at Cafe Racer
In a very special AWP offsite gathering, Wednesday Night Poetry, the longest running consecutive weekly open mic series in the country, convenes at one of Seattle’s most iconic art bars, Cafe Racer! Come read a poem and kick off AWP with friends! This is a SAFE SPACE. Open Mic style. One poem per poet, 3-5 min, any theme. Poets will read from 6-10pm. WNP DANCE PARTY to follow with DJ Mixx America.

BOA Poets Reading and Book Launch – 6:00-9:00pm – at The Pine Box
Join some of your favorite BOA Editions poets: Subhaga Crystal Bacon, Nickole Brown, Marcelo Castillo Hernandez, Luther Hughes, Dustin Pearson, and Alicia Mountain for an off-site AWP reading to launch the Poulin Prize-winning debut collection, Good Grief, the Ground, by Margaret Ray. Poetry, drinks, snacks, and fun! Come on out! Got a boa? Wear it!

Moon City Press AWP 2023 Reading in Seattle – 6:00-8:00pm – at Ada’s Technical Books & Café
Moon City Press is celebrating AWP 2023 with a kickoff reading at Ada’s Technical Books in Seattle, 425 15th Ave E, 6-8 p.m. Join MCP authors Andrew Bertaina, Michele Finn Johnson, Kim Magowan, Claudia Putnam, and Michelle Ross as they read from their new work, launching a fantastic weekend in the Emerald City!

Heavy Alt Punkt AWP Reading – 6:00pm – at Underbelly
Heavy Feather + Alternating Current + KERNPUNKT Press AWP23 Offsite Reading | Free + Open to the Public (with raffles for free books). Featuring: Leah Angstman, Katharine Coldiron, Tommy Dean, Andrew Farkas, Tyler Friend, William Lessard, Grant Maierhofer, Nicole McCarthy, Julian Mithra, Vi Khi Nao, Loie Rawding, Daisuke Shen, Suzi Q. Smith, and Armin Tolentino. Food and drinks available.

Moss, Pacifica Literary Review, and CAM at the PNW Showcase – 7:00pm – at Common Area Maintenance in Belltown
This event is intended both as a celebration of our region’s creative vitality, and as a showcase to give AWP attendees from across the country a taste of what we’re all about in the great Northwest. Co-presented by two different Seattle-based literary organizations—Moss and Pacifica Literary Review — the Pacific Northwest Showcase will feature some of the region’s most exciting artists sharing recent and upcoming work: Paul Hlava-Ceballos, Dujie Tahat, Rebecca Brown, John Beer, Heidi Snyder-Camp, and Heidi Seaborn. There will be drinks available at CAM’s donation bar and plenty of time for mingling and camaraderie once the readings are done.

An Evening with Waxwing, Third Coast, and Porter House Review – 7:00-9:00pm – at Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar
Join us in Seattle for an immersive night of readings, hosted by Waxwing, Third Coast, and Porter House Review. Featured readers include Andrew Collard, Sara Lupita Olivares, Sam Herschel Wein, K. Iver, aureleo sans, Lena Crown, Jose Hernandez Diaz, and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.

10th Annual Rock and Roll Reading – 7:00pm – at The Central Saloon
A dozen or so writers from across the nation read work about or inspired by Rock and Roll or any of its precursors or offshoots — each just the length of a song. Readers include Monica Prince, M.M. Carrigan, Natalie Eilbert, Farah Ali, Aaron Burch, Kira Bell, Avee Chaudhuri, and Carrie Esposito.

Hugo House | AWP | Page Meets Stage – 7:00pm – at Lapis Theater
The 18-year-old poetry series “where the Pulitzer Prize meets the poetry slam” takes the Hugo House stage. Sliding scale admission.

Hugo House | Write Bloody Poetry Super Showcase & Sock Hop – 9:00pm – at Lapis Theater
Join Write Bloody Publishing for an evening of poetry and dancing! The event begins with readings by Amber Flame, Courtney LeBlanc, Taylor Mali, Sheleen McElhinney, Kimberly Nguyen, and Seema Reza. Then, it’s time to ditch our shoes and boogie down in our sock-clad feet! Sliding scale admission.


February 26, 2023

2022 Merit Award
By Kathryn Aspinall

Tonight everything hurts.
I am being split open like
   a soft pear sliced in the palm of your hand,
again and again until I am but
   long pieces laying on a ceramic dish
Which you hold out to me, offering

   And I eat

even though that is my flesh, this is my heart,
over here, my eyes
(you missed them because they were closed)
I missed myself because I am closed.

We are walking the length of the lake in Vermont
We are putting away the sheep in the evening and
returning to the woods.
We are the owls hooting once,
Tonight everything hurts and I sat down
to write a list of all of the things that I loved.
The owls are on it, the knife is on it,
the cutting board is on it
You are on it in little pieces, sliced like soft pears
down the middle.

*Copyright © 2022 by Kathryn Aspinall. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Poet’s bio: Kathryn Aspinall is a senior at Sehome High School and has recently moved from Orcas Island. She is a full time student-athlete and has recently begun writing daily poetry. Kathryn will be pursuing a biology and art major at Willamette University in the fall. “Pears” was written late one night in January after Kathryn made a list of things that she loved. The poem was inspired by various owls, relationships, bowls of fruit, and walks in the woods.

calling Oregon poets

February 25, 2023

If you are a poet currently living in Oregon, you are eligible to submit work for inclusion in the 2023 Oregon Poetry Calendar.

Red Shoe Press accepts submissions March 1 through May 31, 2023, for the 2024 Oregon Poetry Calendar. The glossy wall calendar pairs expressive poems with compelling photographs. This year’s theme is wild birds. Work is accepted only from poets currently living in Oregon. Responses sent by July 2023, publication in August 2023. Poets whose work is published in the calendar receive one free copy. Submit 1-5 poems in a single Word document. Limit poems to 30 lines max. in length (including title and blank lines), and 50 characters max. in width (including spaces, letters, and punctuation). Previously published and simultaneous submissions are okay. There is no submission fee.

  • For full guidelines and to submit: redshoepress.submittable.com/submit (Note: details will appear when submissions open)
  • For more info: redshoepress@5redshoes.com (No email submissions.)

tonight in Bellingham!

February 24, 2023

Tonight, Friday, February 24, 2023, at 8:00pm Pacific, come on down to Honey Moon Mead & Cider in Bellingham and join Jory Mickelson, Caitlin Scarano, and Jessica Gigot for a poetry reading, with music by Louis Ledford.

Honey Moon has a busy calendar. Have a look.

on poetry

February 23, 2023

“You’ve got to be concerned about revision. You can’t even understand how to revise a poem unless you’ve read poetry! You have to read poetry and you’ve got to be passionate about it. It’s important to stay around serious writers who love poetry, who love the work and who understand just like Gwendolyn Brooks said, ‘We are each other’s brothers and we each other’s sisters.’ We have got to reach out to each other.”
Haki R. Madhubuti
(b. February 23, 1942)

. . . . .
photo by Joe Mazza

read some poetry

February 20, 2023

More recommendations for your poetry reading list:

the new snow*

February 19, 2023

2022 Merit Award
By Luther Allen

fresh as if you’d never seen snow before,
never seen the leaning maple, the galactic spire
of seed clusters, rustblood of dock stems,
or the perfect chickadees.

soft as it takes you in, holy,
like your first step
into a forgotten world
of silence.
gentle in its burden.

never questioning whether
it is a veil or the lifting of a veil.
and you know nothing

other than you are being

being held.

*Copyright © 2022 by Luther Allen. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Poet’s bio: Luther Allen is a 74-year-old building designer who lives on Sumas Mountain. He is a previous Boynton winner and has one published book of poetry: The View from Lummi Island. With Judy Kleinberg, he co-edited Noisy Water, Poetry from Whatcom County, WA. This poem is written about the solace in experiencing nature, as a tonic to the pandemic, climate change, forced emigration, intolerance, war, etc., etc., etc. And TV, twitter, and all other forms of vicarious involvement.

NOTE: a chapbook of the 2022 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems, including this one, is available at Village Books in Bellingham. All sales profits benefit the annual contest.

get Fueled

February 18, 2023

Tieton, Washington, AKA Mighty Tieton, is usually mentioned here thanks to LiTFUSE, the three-day literary extravaganza that takes place there every September. But in addition to being a place of apples and art and artisan enterprise, Tieton now has a monthly poetry event: FUEL. On the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Fueling Station, Fuel presents a featured poet plus an open mic. Things get started with dinner and drinks at 6:30pm and the reading begins at 7:00.

On Wednesday, February 22, 2023, the featured poet will be Dayna Patterson. She will likely read from her brand-new book, O Lady, Speak Again, but whatever she chooses to read, it will be worth a trip to Tieton.

(In a related note, pre-registration is now open for LiTFUSE 2023.)

Meet the judges

February 16, 2023

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest has just announced that Caitlin Scarano and Leslie Wharton will be the judges for this year’s Contest, which opens for submissions March 1, 2023.

Caitlin Scarano is a writer based in Bellingham, Washington. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her second full-length collection of poems, The Necessity of Wildfire, was selected by Ada Limón as the winner of the Wren Poetry Prize and recently won a 2022 Pacific Northwest Book Award. Her work has appeared in Granta, Carve, and Colorado Review. You can find her at caitlinscarano.com

Leslie Wharton understands poetry holds the power to change the course of events. As a tender-hearted judge, she’ll be drawn to poems that move her emotionally. Along with her partner’s pottery and welded art, her books, cards, and poetry are displayed in a shipping container turned tiny gallery, Wharton Studio Works. Leslie published She Votes in 2022 and is co-author of Phoenix Rising: Stories of Remarkable Women Walking Through Fire. Her work as a caregiver for the elderly inspires her writing.

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