Toia mai te waka*

November 22, 2020

2020 Walk Award
By Robert Beck

Dig deep
Plant your paddle
Let its roots run long
There is power to be had
When the connection is strong
Through time
Through space
Through water, wood and grip,
Through salt stained breath caressing your lips
Dig deep
Plant your paddle
As you pull your canoe
Can you feel the power
As now the ocean pulls you

*Copyright 2020 by Robert Beck. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

meanwhile, in Texas

November 21, 2020

water tower with the word POETRY

We thought you might like to know that, according to the Herald Banner, 422 voters (73.01 percent) cast ballots in favor of Hunt County Proposition A, which means that the community of Poetry in the far south end of the county and crossing into Kaufman County, will be incorporated as a Type A Municipality to be named the Town of Poetry, Texas.

. . . . .

Poets House

November 20, 2020

We try to keep things somewhat upbeat here at The Poetry Department, but were saddened to read that Poets House, the nation’s premier poetry library, at Battery Park City in New York, has announced that it will suspend operations indefinitely, effective immediately, due to budgetary issues caused by the Coronavirus. It is hoped that the library may be able reopen late in 2021 once the pandemic is under control and Poets House has reconfigured its operations.

Though events have been suspended, online resources continue to be available, at least for the moment, including audio, video, and digital materials, such as a wonderful collection of chapbooks from the “Mimeo Revolution.”

Sound Poetry

November 19, 2020

If it has escaped your notice, as it has ours, there is a robust collection of Sound Poetry programs available for listening at RadioTacoma. Host David Gilmour (not, we think, of Pink Floyd fame) interviews poets you know from the Cascadia region. Listen in!

on poetry

November 18, 2020

“Richard Hugo taught me that anyone with a desire to write, an ear for language and a bit of imagination could become a writer. He also, in a way, gave me permission to write about northern Montana.”
James Welch
(November 18, 1940 – August 4, 2003)

. . . . .
photo by Lee Nye

yet more books…

November 17, 2020

Soon it will be “Best-of” season, but we are still finding lists of recommended poetry books for 2020:

Happy reading!

Hugo House has announced the lineup for Word Works: Writers on Writing 2020–2021. “Word Works craft talks focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through lectures and live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work.”

Each program features a different presenter and topic:

  • Porochista Khakpour: Writing Toward & Against Identity – December 4, 2020
  • Lauren Groff: Fiction’s Hidden Architectures – February 5, 2021
  • Jericho Brown: Nonsense and Senselessness – March 5, 2021
  • Melissa Febos: In Praise of the Confessional – April 9, 2021
  • Joy Harjo: Our Songs Came Through – April 23, 2021
  • Russell Banks: Memory, Abandonment, and Betrayal – May 14, 2021

All Word Works events this season will be held online. Series passes and single-event tickets are now available. See the Word Works page for details on the presenters, topics, and tickets.

In the Forest*

November 15, 2020

2020 Merit Award
By Miakoda Baughman, Grade 3

When the Mountain glows
And the River shines
And the trees speak to me
In the forest
There is magic
In the forest
With me

I think the moon is watching
Over me
And the sun shines
With me

In the forest
With me
I think the spirit
Is watching
Over me

*Copyright 2020 by Miakoda Baughman. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

global community poetry

November 14, 2020

Back in 2017, we posted about a project of the Kent State University Wick Poetry Center, a community poem that became a mural, Healing Stanzas. The success of that project inspired others.

The Global Peace Poem was launched in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Kent State University shootings of May 4, 1970, and a related exhibit, Armed with Our Voices. The poem is ongoing.

Earth Stanzas is an interactive online poetry project in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020. The site offers a number of model poems as prompts as well as texts that can be used to create erasure poems. The project is ongoing.

Poets for Science and the community poem, “Pledge,” is companion to a traveling exhibit curated by Jane Hirshfield exploring the connection between science and poetry. A model poem by Gary Snyder is provided as a prompt. The poem is ongoing.

Vote the Earth is the most recent project, conceived to help inspire voters to put their love for the Earth behind the power of their vote. Each poem is anchored to a map (image above) according to the poet’s home location. The project is ongoing.

Kudos to the Wick Poetry Center and all who have contributed to these worthwhile projects.

on poetry

November 13, 2020

“life was a spiral staircase on which / we stumbled up and down simultaneously …”
Wanda Coleman
(November 13, 1946 – November 22, 2013)

. . . . .
quote from “Song of One,” Bathwater Wine
photo by Susan Carpendale

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