We posted about this contest back in April, but that was sooooo long ago, and it seems sooooo relevant to the current state of our lives that we’re reposting the information here. (Also, some of the information has changed.)

K-12 students in Whatcom County, Washington, are encouraged to submit poems or songs to the Peaceful Poetry Youth Contest. Launched as a National Poetry Month action in partnership with Village Books, the contest is accepting submissions through Monday, September 25, 2017.

The five winning poets will receive gift cards, be videotaped by BTV-10, and be invited to the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center’s annual Peace Builder Awards and given the opportunity to read their poem aloud. Winning poems will be showcased throughout Whatcom County during the year in various locations, including libraries, schools, and small businesses. The work of winning teen poets will also be submitted to the Forest of Words annual library publication.

To download the submission form, submit poems, and see the names and some video recordings of previous winners, visit the Peaceful Poetry Youth Contest page on the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center site and at Village Books.

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shift your margins

September 7, 2017

Margin Shift: Friends in Poetry offers dynamic voices and important poetry on the third Thursday of each month at Common AREA Maintenance in Belltown. Doors and wine open at 6:30pm; poetry starts around 7-ish. Margin Shift is free to attend, though CAM does accept donations to help with food and wine costs. Here’s the lineup for Thursday, September 21, 2017:

A 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award, Robert Lashley has had poems published in Feminete, Seattle Review of Books, NAILED, GRAMMA, and The Cascadia Review. He has also had poems published in such anthologies as It Was Written, and Many Trails To The Summit. His first full-length book, The Homeboy Songs, was published by Small Doggies press in April 2014. His new book, Up South, was published in March of this year.

Fernando Pérez is a Chicano poet from Los Angeles. He holds an MFA in poetry from Arizona State University. He currently lives in Seattle and is an Assistant Professor of English at Bellevue College. His poetry has appeared in several journals, including The Acentos Review, Huizache, The Suburban Review, Hinchas de Poesía, Crab Orchard Review, and The Volta. His manuscript of poetry was recently selected as a finalist for both the Andrés Móntoya Poetry Prize and the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. His first collection of poems, A Song of Dismantling, is forthcoming from The University of New Mexico Press in the fall of 2017.

Kamari Bright is a poet/writer whose works revolve around understanding and introspection. She has received nominations for her debut short film “Black Coffee,” written several published works, and earned grants through Artist Up and 4Culture.

David Brazil is a pastor and translator. His most recent book is Holy Ghost (City Lights, 2017). He lives in Oakland.

Sara Larsen is a poet living in Oakland. She is the author of Merry Hell (Atelos, 2016). Her previous book is All Revolutions Will Be Fabulous (Printing Press, 2014). She is also the author of chapbooks Riot Cops en route Troy and The Hallucinated, among others. From 2008-2011, she co-edited TRY magazine.

starting soon!

September 6, 2017

Here at The Poetry Department, we’re big fans of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”) in particular. This ten-week, FREE, interactive, online poetry course is demanding and rewarding. An “introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman to the present,” it combines readings, webcasts, video discussions, forums, and, if desired, writing assignments. The fall session begins on Saturday, September 9, 2017, and concludes on November 20, 2017. For more information and to enroll, visit the ModPo page on Coursera.

catch poetry

September 5, 2017

Former Edmonton, Alberta, poet laureate Pierrette Requier has a name for the process she used to inspire the images for the new poetry mural in the Edmonton City Centre mall: catch poetry. The 30-panel mural, painted primarily by artists AJA Louden and Clay Lowe, combines Requier’s poem in Cree, French, and English, with iconic words and images that were generated in a public workshop. As Requier read her poem aloud, workshop participants wrote down associations, linked words with pictures, told their own stories, and shared their drawings. This City Edmonton/Notre ville/pêhonân was the result.

Find additional information and photos on Make Something Edmonton.

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film poetry

September 4, 2017

In our ongoing effort to highlight the intersection of poetry and film, we note that Terrain.org is featuring three short films that blend poetry by Abeer Hoque, video by Josh Steinbauer, and music by Tom Asselin. The films accompany the release of Hoque’s new book, Olive Witch, a memoir about growing up across cultures in Nigeria, the States, and Bangladesh.

Please also note that the submission deadline for Terrain’s 8th Annual Contest in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry has been extended. TODAY, Monday, September 4, 2017, is the new deadline for contest entries. General, non-contest, submissions reopen tomorrow and continue through May 30, 2018.

The Perfect Ballerina*

September 3, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Amelia Carr, 11th Grade

A blur of tulle and tutus swiftly swirls
across the slick stage,
She elegantly leaps above the charcoal floor.
Appreciating the quiet audience focused on her dance,
She looks down at her worn down pointe shoes,
Wishing they were still silky and bubblegum pink.
Focusing on holding her arabesque,
She tries to portray the meaning of the dance.

Beveling her foot upright,
She hopes her shoes fully extend on top of the box.
Feeling the heat of the spotlight glow across her chest,
She brushes her arms across the intricate beaded bodice.
Caring that each position is precise,
She knows it’s almost time to exit the stage.

Dancing her heart out,
She fears that she will never be perfect.

. . . . .
Mimi Carr is a student at Squalicum High School. Dancing has been a part of her life for 14 years and she found her inspiration for this poem from her dance teachers and love for ballet. This is her first published poem.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Amelia Carr. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

the sound of Clover

September 2, 2017

When Clover, A Literary Rag, launched as a literary journal in 2010, there was no way to predict that it would become more substantial and more respected with each issue in print. Now, with thirteen volumes and a Mayor’s Arts Award under its belt, the Bellingham-based journal of international fine writing will celebrate art as written word at a reading from Volume 13.

Hear a selection of writers, including Susan Chase-Foster, Luther Allen, Christine Kendall, Gary McWilliams, Abbe Rolnick, Garrett Sanford, Laurel Leigh, Jennifer Bullis, Caitlin Thomson, Jim Bertolino, Carla Shafer, and Paul Hunter, in an engaging afternoon of readings on Sunday, September 10, 2017, at 4:00pm, at Village Books in Fairhaven. The reading is free and copies of Clover will be available for purchase.

(And by the way, submissions for Volume 14 are open until September 30, 2017.)

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