The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced the selection of Abby E. Murray as Tacoma’s 2019-2021 Poet Laureate. Taking over from Kellie Richardson, Murray will “participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events to advance the literary arts in Tacoma.”

You can hear and meet Abby Murray when the Puget Sound Poetry Connection Distinguished Writer Series features her reading from her forthcoming book, Hail & Farewell (winner of the 2019 Perugia Press Prize), on Friday, June 14, 2019, at 7:00pm, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Tacoma. An open mic will follow her reading.


Friday on Vashon!

June 6, 2019

Working at the intersections of arts, law, education, and community organizing, Nikkita Oliver strives to create experiences which draw us closer to our humanity. Her work asks us to engage with what we see happening now and to imagine what we hope to see in the future. As a poet, musician and teaching artist, she hopes to cultivate spaces where young people can explore their creative gifts and discover their personal power to build the world they most need to see. Nikkita is also a case manager for Creative Justice, an arts program aimed at transforming the criminal legal system and at providing space for young people to be self-empowered and self-determined. She is also the co-creator with Nikki Etienne and Dj Rise of the RingSide, a monthly poetry slam and artist showcase.

She has opened for Cornel West and Chuck D of Public Enemy, performed on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, and has been featured on The Breakfast Club and KUOW’s The Week in Review. Her writing and poetry have been published in The Moss, South Seattle Emerald, Crosscut, the Establishment, Last Real Indians, The Seattle Weekly, and The Stranger. She organizes with No New Youth Jail, the Seattle Peoples Party, THRIVE, and the Black Organizing Collective. Nikkita was the first political candidate of the Seattle Peoples Party to run for Mayor of Seattle, in 2017.

Nikkita Oliver will perform at the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall on Vashon Island on Friday, June 7, 2019, as part of the Vashon Island First Friday Gallery Cruise, including work from her newly released book, Pebbles In My Shoes. Get your tickets.

on poetry

June 5, 2019

“A poet must be a professor of the five senses and must open doors among them.”
Federico García Lorca
(June 5, 1898 – August 18, 1936)

. . . . .

The Guardian is paying attention to poetry and offering bite-size review roundups of recent publications. Here’s “The best recent poetry” published in June, April, and March. Additional offerings from The Guardian include Poem of the Month, Poem of the week, and occasional poetic appearances on Book of the day. Have a look.

good news

June 3, 2019

Sometimes we just have to share some good news. The kind of restores-your-faith-in-humanity news we’d like to see more often, even when it’s not right in our neighborhood. The Kennedy Foundation, Inc., has pledged $1 million to the University of Chattanooga Foundation for the benefit of students studying poetry at UTC. The money will be used to fund scholarships as well as endow a professorship to teach poetry. A million bucks for poetry. Yes!

Read all about it.

Not Yet*

June 2, 2019

2019 Walk Award
by Barbara Bloom

Not yet while the blackberries
are still just flowers and the pink bramble roses
hang off the corner of the garden fence
in a heavy tangle no
not yet as I sit in my friend’s backyard
and the image of the black truck
on the wrong side of the road returns to me
speeding toward us
and unseen birds call back and forth
from treetops or the air
while off in the distance
a weed whacker starts up
and even that is a reason to stay
and the eucalyptus fill up the sky
the sun warm on my face
with another morning
not yet
the world outside beckoning
look at me here don’t go

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

. . . . .
Barbara Bloom grew up on a remote coastal homestead in British Columbia. She taught English and creative writing in Santa Cruz, California, for many years and recently returned to make her home in the Northwest, where she lives with her musician husband and several rescued animals. She has published two books of poetry — On the Water Meridian and Pulling Down the Heavens.

This poem was inspired by a scary incident while driving and the powerful realization that I was not ready to leave the earth — and gratitude for the things I love about being alive.

summer Sundays

June 1, 2019

You’re invited to a first-Sunday-of-the-month
poetry reading
at 5:00pm
by the book box
at 1507 Larrabee,
in Bellingham.

Featured poets are
Kevin Murphy (June 2),
Carla Shafer (July 7),
Luther Allen (August 4),
and You (open mic, September 1, 2019, followed by a potluck).

Thanks to Jeni Cottrell for the idea and the venue!

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