solstice, tomorrow

April 10, 2021

Congratulations to Carla Shafer, who conceived and edited a wonderful collection of poems of light, Solstice: Light & Dark of the Salish Sea (Chuckanut Sandstone Press). The collection features the work of 29 poets in two sections, Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice.

Tomorrow, Sunday, April 11, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific, Village Books will present a book launch reading from Solstice. See the list of poets in the collection and register for the online reading here.

Monday reading

April 2, 2021

Tune in Monday, April 5, 2021, at 6:00pm, for a livestream reading and book launch with Kate Lebo and Kim Addonizio. Presented by Third Place Books (Seattle), Village Books (Bellingham), Browser’s Bookshop (Olympia), and Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane) the event celebrates Lebo’s latest, The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly and Addonizio’s brand-new collection, Now We’re Getting Somewhere: Poems.

The event is free on Zoom with registration.

the face of poetry

March 29, 2021

To publish your first book of poetry (well, any book of poetry, but especially the first) is cause for celebration. To do so at age 80 is a triumph.

This week we have learned about two newly published poets: Carol Seitchik (above left) and Sylvia Byrne Pollack.

Seitchik, a long-time visual artist, started writing 20 years ago. Her book, The Distance to Odessa (Atmosphere Press) explores an intensely personal four-generation story of immigration and emigration.

Pollack, a scientist, poet, and 2019 Jack Straw writer who lives in Seattle, has been writing all of her life. Her collection, Risking It (Red Mountain Press) uses persona poems to explore risk and reinvention.

Seitchik and Pollack are certainly not the only poets to publish later-than-usual first books. Dorothy A. Regal was 90 when Other Mind Press published A Measure of Strength and Sarah Yerkes was 101 when Days of Blue and Flame was published by Passager Books.

No doubt there are others, but as we wrap up Women’s History Month 2021, it seems particularly auspicious to salute these two poets. Read more about Carol Seitchik and her book in The Odessa Journal. And learn more of Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s story in The Seattle Times.

If publishers are distressed at the thought of online book launches, you’d never know it by the number of spring titles rolling off the presses. Here’s the latest selection of reviews and recommendations:

Happy reading!

This is a guest post by
Kelli Russell Agodon

I did not screenshot the one-on-one Meet and Greet with Copper Canyon Press, but I wore a paisley button-down shirt and people arrived, to ask questions and just to talk. I had been a little nervous about that event for two reasons. The first was, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would work: would I be chatting with people via text or would we all arrive on Zoom (Zoom it was)? The second reason was, what if it was just me sitting in a Zoom room by myself because no one showed up? Oh the sad life of a poet!, I thought. But thankfully, people did show up, Zoom worked well, and as usual, my worries were for nothing.

The rest of AWP felt like wandering around an empty virtual game. Since you can’t see other participants unless you go to the tab with a list of attendees, it felt like an AWP of one’s own, which for me is the opposite of why I go to AWP. I go to AWP to walk the bookfair and for the surprise encounters with favorite poets and friends I haven’t seen for a while. I go to AWP to hold books, to flip the pages of poetry books, to sit in an audience and listen to a panel.

In my current world, I am Zoomed out, so clicking on a panel (many pre-recorded) and tuning in seemed like another opportunity for too much screentime. But I discovered that because everyone is just sitting in their offices off screen, I could click on a panel, listen, and clean my office! The panels I listened to were good and if they weren’t, there was no awkward leaving mid-panel, just a click of the pause button or shutting the laptop.

While Two Sylvias Press had a virtual booth, we mostly set it up and answered questions by message. We didn’t sell as many books as a normal AWP, but we didn’t have to carry any books from a van to the conference center either!

While this wasn’t the most inspiring conference, I admire AWP for coming up with something that wasn’t too hard to navigate, had a virtual bookfair, and allowed us a little bit of the AWP feel through panels and readings (even if they were on a screen).

This would have been the AWP my book, Dialogues with Rising Tides, would have been released with Copper Canyon Press, or almost (it’s due to be published April 27, 2021). Do I feel cheated or sad that my book is coming out during a pandemic? Not really. Actually, not at all. Mostly, I am thankful for the new ways we unite online, how we find our way through this difficult time. I’m reminded of the many ways we still have to connect and know we are turning the corner for more in-person time.

Since I’m not doing in-person events right now for my book, the online world has oddly become a stage (one I’m occasionally falling off, due to too much screentime). Virtual AWP was a way to meet some new readers, hear my favorites talk about their poetry lives, and actually sell a few more books. During the pandemic I have learned that things do not need to be perfect; good enough suits me just fine these days.

– – – – –
Kelli Russell Agodon is the author of Dialogues with Rising Tides from Copper Canyon Press (which you can preorder here or on Amazon.) Kelli is also the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press and the Co-Director of Poets on the Coast: A Weekend Retreat for Women. On May 1, 2021, she will be teaching a workshop on The Surrealists Toolkit, writing poems from prompts and play of surrealist artists and writers. Visit her website to read more of her work.

You’re invited to celebrate the release of Willow Springs 87, which features poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and an interview with Jericho Brown. Founded in 1977 and produced within the The MFA at EWU, Willow Springs is published semi-annually in both print and digital format.

The online release party (free, of course) will be held this Saturday, March 6, 2021, starting at 5:00pm Pacific, on the EWU MFA Visiting Writers Series YouTube channel.

Thursday at 5

February 10, 2021

event announcement with photos of Natalie Shapero, Alex Dimitrov, and Erin Belieu

You’re invited to join Copper Canyon Press for the livestream Winter Launch Party for Natalie Shapero, Alex Dimitrov, and Erin Belieu, tomorrow, Thursday, February 11, 2021, at 5:00pm Pacific. The reading is free with registration and will be followed by a Q & A.

Monday at 7

January 30, 2021

This good news just in: artist and poet Anita K. Boyle will read from her new book, Why Horses (MoonPath Press, 2020) on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific on Zoom (p: 664442).

The at-home, online, monthly Monday Night Poetry event with Northwest Renaissance Poets and Striped Water Poets will include a 20-minute featured reading by Anita followed by a round-robin open mic. The reading will be recorded and posted afterwards to the Northwest Renaissance Poets Facebook page.

Find Why Horses at your local independent bookstore. Here’s more on Anita K. Boyle, Why Horses, and MoonPath Press, and here’s the event on Facebook.

Don’t miss this one.

not-comical comics

May 17, 2020

Montreal comic book artist and illustrator Julian Peters is one of many people whose book launch has been sidetracked by the coronavirus. In his book, Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry (Plough Publishing), Peters uses a variety of styles to illustrate poems by Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney, e. e. cummings, Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Christina Rossetti, William Wordsworth, William Ernest Henley, Robert Hayden, Edgar Allan Poe, W. H. Auden, Thomas Hardy, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Philip Johnson, W. B. Yeats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Tess Gallagher, Ezra Pound, and Siegfried Sassoon. Learn more about Julian Peters and listen to a brief interview.

virtual town hall

April 20, 2020

Since 2016, more than 175 writers, artists, scientists, and political and community leaders have offered their impassioned Letters to America in Terrain.org. These are now collected — with 50 new letters — in the book Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy.

On Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, at 5:00pm Pacific, you can celebrate the launch of the book and the first of a new Dear America Virtual Town Hall event series. The event features Alison Hawthorne Deming, Naomi Shihab Nye, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Ellen Bass, and is moderated by Terrain.org editor-in-chief Simmons Buntin. The event is free but pre-registration is required.

Dear American Virtual Town Hall on Facebook.

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