a mother poem

May 9, 2021

Elizabeth Vignali ~ My Mother's Afterlife

In honor of Mother’s Day, we repost “My Mother’s Afterlife” by Elizabeth Vignali. The poem was selected as a 2012 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Merit Award winner and Vignali is currently serving as a judge for the 2021 contest. You can see her on Zoom at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

My Mother’s Afterlife
By Elizabeth Vignali

She prepares for our arrival —
brushes pine needles off the table,
unfurls the checkered cloth
with a snap
of her wrist.
Mourning doves hush
as she stacks clacking
kindling next to the firepit
dead with ashes.
When she ceases
they cry to each other
across the shrouding mist.
She sets out canvas
camping chairs and rests
in the one nearest the pond.
She has years to wait.

A nymph lumbers from under
the verdant surface
onto a cow lily and dances
into its dragonfly shape.
New wings unfurled, it sees her
with many eyes.
It clings to the old body, its pale
new one jewelling blue-green.

*Copyright 2012 by Elizabeth Vignali. Placard design by Egress Studio.

walk with Emily

May 7, 2021

Perhaps next year the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and the Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk will be live and in person once again, but for now, those of us not in Massachusetts can easily join in the annual event. “Called Back”: A Virtual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk will happen on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at 8:30am Pacific (11:30am Eastern). Registration is required, and free, with donations gratefully accepted.

We have winners!

May 4, 2021

Congratulations and thanks to ALL of the poets who submitted work to this year’s Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, and in particular to the poets who have been selected as this year’s winners:

WALK AWARDS: Ty Colson, David P. Drummond, Marie Eaton, Peyton Eberhardt, Jory Mickelson, Maddie Patterson, Timothy Pilgrim, Janette Lyn Rosebrook, Noa Shelsta, J.L. Wright.

MERIT AWARDS: Rylie Anderson, Margaux Barber, Barbara Bloom, Kathleen Byrd, Lynn Geri, Arden Haines, Sophie Hall, Callum LaPlant, David M. Laws, Payton Ling, Phelps S. McIlvaine, Isabella Nelson, Robert Stern, Kami Westhoff, Genevieve Whalen.

The awards ceremony will be held online on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific. Access information will be provided as soon as it is available.

In addition… the names of the winning poets and poems will be added to the Winners page. The winning poems and their beautiful illustrated placards will be featured on this page, one per week, over the coming months, and linked to the Winners page. And finally, the Walk Award poems will take their places on the Poetry Walk in front of the Bellingham Public Library, where they will remain on view for a full year. (If you haven’t seen the 2020 Poetry Walk poems, be sure to take a look before they go away.)

Meanwhile, please enjoy this wonderful video celebrating the contest and its namesake, Sue C. Boynton.

The SpeakEasy poetry series is honored to feature Rena Priest, the new Washington State Poet Laureate, at SpeakEasy 28: Homecoming. Presented on Zoom on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific, the reading will also include Rena’s poet/mentors James Bertolino, Anita K. Boyle, Nancy Pagh, and Jeanne Yeasting. For a Zoom link, please send an email to othermindpress AT gmail.com.

sale on classes!

April 15, 2021

If you were thinking about taking a class at Hugo House this spring but hadn’t quite gotten around to signing up, now’s your big chance. Hugo House is having a flash sale, today, April 15, through Sunday, April 18, 2021, (11:59pm Pacific). Sign up now and all classes will be 15% off with the code SPRING21.

There are wonderful courses on offer, including, for example, a single-session course with Kim Stafford (April 16) and another with our new state poet laureate, Rena Priest (April 17).

View the catalog and sign up now with the code SPRING21.

This evening, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 6:00pm Pacific, you are invited to celebrate Rena Priest’s appointment by Governor Jay Inslee as Washington State’s 6th Poet Laureate. This very special event is organized and hosted by the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, Humanities Washington, ArtsWA (the WA State Arts Commission), and the Washington Center for the Book. Past Laureates Claudia Castro Luna, Tod Marshall, Elizabeth Austen, Kathleen Flenniken, and Sam Green (in absentia) will be honored guests as we gather to pass the laurel in an evening of poetry, speech, and song. Produced by Children of the Setting Sun Productions.

Register here.

PEN America announced the 2021 Literary Awards winners at the awards ceremony held April 8, 2021. Poetry has a prominent place this year, with top honors, The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award (“To a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.”), going to Ross Gay for Be Holding: A Poem (University of Pittsburgh Press).

The PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection (“To a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.”) went to Victoria Chang for Obit (Copper Canyon Press), and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (“For a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English.”) went to Steve Bradbury for his translation from the Chinese of the book by Amang, Raised by Wolves: Poems and Conversations (Phoneme Media).

For more about the poets, authors, translators, books, awards (including a video of the awards ceremony), and the work of PEN, visit the PEN Literary Awards page.

vispo for NatPoMo

April 9, 2021

If you are interested in visual poetry, AngelHousePress is posting a new vispo piece each day of National Poetry Month at NationalPoetryMonth.ca. Amanda Earl, the “fallen angel” of AngelHousePress, writes:

The work in this year’s collection is kinetic, vibrant, and geometric. Through videos, collages, asemic writing, pictorals, self-portraits, poem-objects, assemblages, erasure, photographs, scans, using paper, ink, old book paper, recycled materials, artist pens, bio-resin, hand-made stamps, graphite, fabric, paint, nailpolish, rocks and shreds of failed poems, our contributors demonstrate the playful and enriching possibilities of visual poetry and poetry itself.

The international collection, arriving one per day during April, will remain on view throughout the year.

so many books!

April 8, 2021

It’s National Poetry Month and the shelves are bulging with new titles. Here is a selection of recent recommendations:

To recommend your favorite must-read poetry titles (old or new), just leave a Comment.

Mark your calendar!

April 5, 2021

Mark your calendar and start getting some extra sleep: The Poetry Marathon is back! If you’re up for 24 poems in 24 hours (or 12 in 12), half and full marathons starts at 6:00am Pacific on Saturday, June 26, 2021, with a second half marathon starting at 6:00pm Pacific.

They’re also looking for cover images and an editor for the 2021 Poetry Marathon Anthology. All the details on The Poetry Marathon website and Facebook.

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