vital voices

September 19, 2017

Somehow, it escaped our notice that the U.S. now has a National Youth Poet Laureate. Spearheaded by the New York City youth literary arts organization Urban Word, the National Youth Poet Laureate program was founded in 2008 and has partnered with literary organizations in 35 cities (including Seattle and Portland) and states to name a local Youth Poet Laureate. Each winner is awarded a first book deal from Penmanship Books.

In this new phase of the program, to appoint a national winner, competitors from around the country were narrowed down to five finalists, each representing a geographic region. From the five ambassadors, Harvard sophomore Amanda Gorman was selected as the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.

Ms. Gorman is the inaugural Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and founder and Executive Director of One Pen One Page, a nonprofit that promotes literacy and leadership through international storytelling initiatives and an online teen‐lit mag. She has served as a United Nations Youth Delegate in New York City, an ANNpower Vital Voices Fellow in Washington, D.C, and an ANNpower Vital Voices Global Delegate in London. She is an ambassador, editor, and leader of diversity initiatives at the online platform School of Doodle, and her work has been published in her book The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough, as well as The Wall Street Journal, Elle, and The Huffington Post.

Watch Amanda Gorman perform her poem “The Gathering Place” at the Social Good Summit 2017.

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Rabbits with Wings*

September 17, 2017


2017 Walk Award
By Amelia O’Connell, 8th Grade

Rabbits with wings flying up through the sky,
Catching the carrots that fall from the trees,
Deep in the forest live rabbits that fly.

Sometimes the rabbits will eat a fruit pie,
Carrots get boring after a while,
Rabbits with wings flying up through the sky.

When you hike through the forest a rabbit hops by,
Hiding its wings as it hops past your feet,
Deep in the forest live rabbits that fly.

Regular rabbits eventually die,
Magical rabbits live long happy lives,
Rabbits with wings flying up through the sky.

You may think, when that little rabbit hops by,
That it lives in burrows deep under the ground, but
Deep in the forest live rabbits that fly.

Someday, if you’re on a hike, you should try
Looking for rabbit nests up in the trees,
Rabbits with wings flying up in the sky,
Deep in the forest live rabbits that fly.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Amelia O’Connell. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

on poetry

September 16, 2017


“Prose is a museum, where all the old weapons of poetry are kept.”
T. E. Hulme
(September 16, 1883 – September 28, 1917)

. . . . .
poet photo

Frida and Friends in Deming!

September 14, 2017

Frida and Friends
Friday, September 29, 2017, 7:00pm

at the Deming Library

Frida Kahlo, the dynamic Mexican painter, is recognized today for her artistic talent and for her courage in dealing with adversity. This reading will gather a group of local women poets to read their work and celebrate strong women. Susan J. Erickson, the featured reader, will share work from her recently published book of poems in women’s voices, Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine, which includes poems in the voice of Frida. (Frida “herself” will make a guest appearance at the reading!)

Please join the following poets in celebrating with Susan J. Erickson, Frida and Friends: Lois Holub, Stephanie Hopkinson, J.I. (Judy) Kleinberg, C.J. Prince, and Leslie Wharton.

PS: Susan will offer one of her handcrafted collage cards with images of some of the women from the book with each purchase of her book.

return of the FisherPoets

September 11, 2017

Once again a lineup of seafaring (or at least sea-loving) poets will grace the stages of Bellingham for FisherPoets at SeaFeast. On Friday, September 22, 2017, four venues will offer poems, stories, and songs of the sea:

  • 7 – 10pm – Sea Shanties, Sing-a-Longs & Stories – at Honey Moon Mead & Cider
  • 7 – 10:30pm – Videos, Stories & Poems – at Chuckanut Brewery
  • 7 – 11pm – Poems, Songs & Stories – at Boundary Bay Brewery
  • 9 – 10pm – Poems, Songs & Stories – at Depot Market Square

Get your $5 button (available at Village Books and all venues) for entrance to all locations and visit the Bellingham SeaFeast website for more details on FisherPoets and other seaworthy (and tasty) goings-on.

Wonder*

September 10, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Jim Milstead

She looks outside,
     wonders
     when the first green sprouts of spring will appear.
The grey streets are streaked with with rain.
     wonders
if her friends would like to come inside to play

Nearby the white-haired woman, brush in hand,
     faces an empty canvas,
     wonders whether she should join the other marchers
to change the world.

. . . . .
Jim Milstead was “Born in Chicago. Moved to Fresno, CA. Entered the Marine Corps, occupying northern China. Graduated from Fresno State College. Worked at the Linear Accelerator in Livermore, Ca. Entered graduate school, spending 35 years as a biological control researcher at UC Berkeley. Moved to Bellingham in 1992. Now I write.” He is author of the poetry books Collage and Scenario.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Jim Milstead. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

meanwhile, in Melbourne

September 9, 2017

In Melbourne, Australia, New Shoots “invited 10 of Australia’s most spirited poets, Bruce Pascoe, Maria Takolander, Bonny Cassidy, Autumn Royal, Ryan Prehn, Elena Gomez, Duncan Hose, Chris Wallace Crabbe, Carissa Lee Godwin, and Cameron Lowe to create a series of poems that respond to sites, spores, histories and seeds across Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.” The poems appear in the gardens and on city trams through September. Read the poems on Red Room Company and learn more in The Sydney Morning Herald.

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