2017 Walk Award
By Richard Widerkehr

Yesterday, the water tossed me on the reef,
jarring my back, scraping my right wrist.

Don’t fall out of the ocean, says Linda.
I line up a break in the coral

with the fifth thatched shed.
Lying on my back, held by waves,

sea held by blue sky, sky held by the earth,
and the universe — it’s held by what?

*

I’m standing in the green shallows.
Whomp. Something hits the water

hard like prop wash. Wings thrash.
A brown pelican’s next to me.

The thing has a bill, big as a thigh bone,
that opens and closes.

. . . . .
“In the last five years, I’ve submitted and published widely. I like to sing and play music at a bar called the Green Frog. I used to be a teacher and a case manager with the mentally ill. I’m retired now. My Boynton poem was written at a resort called Akumal in Mexico and worked on later back in B’ham. My third book of poems, In The Presence Of Absence, will come out from MoonPath Press this fall.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Richard Widerkehr. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Congratulations!

July 22, 2017

Congratulations to Western Washington University and the Whatcom County Library System, which have been selected to serve as the host site for the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Naomi Shihab Nye.

May Hill Arbuthnot (1884-1969) was born in Mason City, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1922, receiving her master’s degree in 1924 from Columbia University. Along with educator William Scott Gray, she created and wrote the Curriculum Foundation Readers for children — better known as the “Dick and Jane” series. The annual lecture series was created in her honor.

The lecture will be held in the spring of 2018 and will be announced here as soon as a date is confirmed.

Read the announcement here.

action poetry

July 21, 2017

Meanwhile, in the world of advertising, poetry takes the stage with some remarkable athletes in a series of ads for Under Armour, the performance apparel gear company. The “Unlike Any” ads feature athletes Misty Copeland, Natasha Hastings, Jessie Graff, Alison Désir, and Zoe Zhang, with poets Saul Williams, Dominique Christina, Kojey Radical, Aja Monet, and Aristophanes, respectively. Read the story in Adweek and watch/listen.

We are happy to see that in the UK, “The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Arts, Health and Wellbeing said doctors should be encouraged to refer patients to art classes and poetry workshops.”

Read the article in The Telegraph and this testimonial about the health benefits of poetry, in The Guardian.

Click to see more poetry prescription stories in The Poetry Department.

Ready…set…Marathon!

July 19, 2017

If you are planning to participate in the 2017 Poetry Marathon or half-marathon, signups begin tomorrow, Thursday, July 20 at Noon Eastern Time, and continue through July 27. The full marathon will take place on Saturday, August 5, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET, and it will conclude at 9:00 a.m. ET on Sunday the 6th. The half marathon will run from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on August 5. Each poet must write and publish on the blog one poem per hour. To register, go to The Poetry Marathon website or watch for the link on the Poetry Marathon Facebook page.

WA129 featured poems

July 18, 2017

Humanities Washington has launched a feature series, posting selected poems from WA129, the anthology compiled by Poet Laureate Tod Marshall. The first three poets are Sherman Alexie, Mary Eliza Crane, and Claudia Castro Luna. Visit Part I of the series and subscribe to stay in the loop on Humanities Washington goings-on.

. . . . .
Cascades train track. Photo: Alex Robert

Take Your Poet to Work Day is this Wednesday, July 19, 2017, and Tweetspeak Poetry has plenty of swag to make it easy and fun. In addition to a new set of ready-for-work poets, there’s also a printable coloring book and a swell infographic.

%d bloggers like this: