recommendation roundup

October 13, 2021

Here’s a new batch of recently recommended poetry books from a variety of sources:

The Madrona Project

October 9, 2021

On Friday, October 15, 2021, at 7:00pm, please join Village Books, the North Cascades Institute, Humanities Washington, and ArtsWA for a group reading from The Madrona Project Vol. 2, No. 1, featuring Holly J. Hughes and Rena Priest.

For this issue of THE MADRONA PROJECT, editor Holly J. Hughes invited sixty-four women writers and artists from the Northwest to reflect on what it means to live and write in the Cascadian bioregion at the end of 2020, a year that challenged our resilience on every level. Reaching out to national and regionally acclaimed poets and essayists from Alaska to Oregon, as well as new and emerging writers, she brings together a diverse chorus, including Indigenous voices and some who work the land or sea. The voices gathered here remind us that our lives in Cascadia are still interwoven with fir and cedar, salmon and kingfisher, heron and eagle, raven and crow’ perhaps even more so as we face an uncertain future together, turning to the natural world for signs of resilience and hope. Throughout this powerful collection, writers and artists bear witness to the hard truths not only of our history but of ongoing inequities laid bare by the pandemic and the consequences of centuries of colonialism and exploitation, inviting us to consider the urgent question of our time: how to move forward into a future that’s socially just and sustainable, that honors all our voices and stories. With a moving preface by Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest of the Lummi Nation, this collection affirms the beauty, strength, and resilience of Cascadia and her people, and how our fates have always been deeply intertwined and interdependent, now more so than ever.

Advance registration is required.

poetry, personalized

October 1, 2021

Because we like to keep up (and keep you up) on new poetry stuff, we mention Pagesmith, though we don’t have all the details yet. The UK publisher Faber & Faber, nearly a century old, rather than resting on its considerable laurels, has just this week introduced Pagesmith (in time for the holiday season).

In short, Pagesmith is gift-book program: a way of creating a personalized poetry collection using poems and templates provided. You choose sixteen poems from one of eight themes, select a cover and artwork, approve a mockup, and then Pagesmith prints and delivers your gift book.

There is currently no information about shipping outside the UK. The base price is £30 (about $40) and there is also no information about quantity discounts. But it’s an idea that may catch on, so visit the website or the Pagesmith Facebook page for more information.

Banned Books Week

September 26, 2021

Banned Books Week starts today, Sunday, September 26, 2021, and continues through Saturday, October 2.

What are you reading? Perhaps it’s time for a title from one of the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists. ALA doesn’t categorize banned or challenged books by genre, but there are a number of poetry titles on this list of Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books. What will you read next?

new poetry titles

September 21, 2021

Here’s another batch of recommendations for new poetry books to keep you reading through the autumn:

Happy reading!

National Book Festival

September 7, 2021

The 2021 National Book Festival will be a ten-day literary extravaganza presented by the Library of Congress, September 17-26, 2021. The readings, conversations, Q&A sessions, and other events will all be available free online, plus, only one program will livestream at any given time, meaning this year you won’t need to make any tough choices on which program to attend. See the author lineup and additional information about the Festival.

best selling

September 3, 2021

Nice to see two Cascadia-region publishers (Empty Bowl and Fonograf) and five titles among the top twenty poetry bestsellers for August from Small Press Distribution! All available through your favorite independent bookseller.

read some finalists

August 31, 2021

The winners of the 2021 BC and Yukon Book Prizes will be announced at an online gala on Saturday, September 25, 2021, but you don’t have to wait to start reading the five finalists for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Music for the Dead and Resurrected by Valzhyna Mort and The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin were announced in June as the International and Canadian winners of the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize, but the entire shortlist is worth your attention.

You can also see the Poetry Society of America awards list.

keep reading!

August 27, 2021

As we wrap up the final days of the August Poetry Postcard Fest* and the #SealeyChallenge, there is still plenty of reading (and writing) to be done. Here are more titles for your list:

*If you’re interested, there will be a post-postcard fest open mic on Zoom on Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 10:00am Pacific.

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Thanks to Sheila Sondik for the CBC alert!

on poetry

August 21, 2021

“The best piece of advice that I was given, you know, and I was given this by my parents over the years, for any writer that is looking to capture their experiences, their imagination and put it down on the page, I would say three things. I’d say, one, read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Don’t just read in the genre that you’re writing in. Read.

“Inform yourself. Enhance your worldview. The second thing I would say, and you’re probably not going to like hearing this, I would say read. I would say read, you know, read something fun. You know, I’d say read something that you’re interested in. Go to the bookstore. Go to the library, you know. Check out a great book, you know. You may not like the first book you read, but there’s so many more. And the last piece of advice — I’ve never shared this with anyone. Read. You want to be a better writer? Read.”
Kwame Alexander
(b. August 21, 1968)

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