call for salmon poems!

August 4, 2022

With the support of a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest is creating an anthology of poetry dedicated to salmon, and is calling for submissions from Washington State writers.

“Salmon are the unsung heroes of our region,” she says. “Adventurous and brave, they swim from their natal rivers out into the perils of the open ocean. Persistent, resilient, and strong, they swim upstream against swift currents for hundreds of miles to return home to spawn and complete the cycle of life.

“Salmon are sacred to my tribe, the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. We celebrate them in ceremony and song, and they have long been central to our Sche’le’ngen, our way of life. By celebrating salmon through poetry in every corner of the state, I hope to raise goodwill and a feeling of reverence for the salmon, a feeling that my people have felt since time immemorial.

“Seattle-based writer Timothy Egan writes, ‘The Pacific Northwest is simply this: wherever the salmon can get to.’ Before dams were installed, salmon inhabited streams throughout Washington state, even as far inland as Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and beyond. They have been a huge part of our regional identity, and I hope you will submit a poem or two about our iconic wild salmon.”

This project is supported in part by Humanities WA, the Washington State Arts Commission, and the Academy of American Poets. Empty Bowl Press will publish the anthology in 2023.

The submission deadline is September 18, 2022. See the complete guidelines here.

salmon poetry

April 30, 2022

This is a guest post by Rena Priest.

Greetings Poets! Happy National Poetry Month!

As the month winds down and I head into my second year as Washington State Poet Laureate, I’m delighted to have this opportunity to share a few words with you. It has been a fantastic year full of new faces and reconnecting with old friends in the poetry community. I’ve shared poetry with many organizations, libraries, schools, and institutions, and I’ve written several new poems for special occasions. I have even collected a new manuscript!

Now I want to read your poems, specifically your salmon poems. Over the summer and early fall, I will be offering a traveling workshop called How to Catch a Salmon Poem. In this workshop, we’ll respond to a series of prompts to cultivate poems for a salmon-themed anthology. By the end of our time together, attendees will have a fresh catch of ideas to help them reel in new poems.

Why salmon? Salmon are the unsung heroes of our region. Adventurous and brave, they swim from their natal rivers out into the perils of the open ocean, where their bodies soak up the rich nutrients of the sea. Persistent, resilient, and strong, they swim upstream against swift currents for hundreds of miles to return home to spawn and complete the cycle of life. A keystone species, after spawning, they die and transfer all the marine-derived nutrients carried in their bodies to the animals, insects, soil, and plants in and around their natal stream.

Salmon are sacred to my tribe, the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. We celebrate them in ceremony and song, and they have long been central to our Sche’le’ngen, our way of life. By celebrating salmon through poetry in every corner of the state, I hope to raise goodwill and a feeling of reverence for the salmon, a feeling that my people have felt since time immemorial.

Seattle-based writer Timothy Egan writes, “The Pacific Northwest is simply this: wherever the salmon can get to.” Before dams were installed, salmon inhabited streams throughout Washington state, even as far inland as Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and beyond. They have been a massive part of our regional identity, and with many species struggling, it’s time to love them enough to save them.

Saving salmon and acknowledging our shared humanity through poetry is at the heart of my motivation to create an anthology celebrating our state’s salmon runs as well as our poets. I hope you will join us in one of these generative workshop offerings and be inspired to submit a poem or two about our iconic wild salmon of Washington state. I will be sharing workshop dates as they are set.

In the meantime, if you happen to have salmon poems in your repertoire, you can submit 1-3 poems via email to poet [AT] humanities.org. The open call deadline is June 1, 2022.

In your email, please affirm that

  • you currently live in Washington State
  • your poems are previously unpublished, or
  • your poems are published, but you retain the right to republish

If your poem is previously published

  • give the places and dates of all previous publications
  • affirm that you retain all rights to the work, and
  • include links to websites where available

If you’d like to have me offer a workshop in your community, you can send a message through my website (www.renapriest.com) and we can talk about scheduling a date. Stay tuned for more info! I look forward to reading your poems!!

Yours,
Rena Priest
Washington State Poet Laureate (2021-2023)

. . . . .

Rena Priest is a poet and an enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She has been appointed to serve as the Washington State Poet Laureate from April 2021 to 2023. She is the 2022 Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writing Fellow, an Indigenous Nations Poets Fellow, a Jack Straw Writer (2019), and a Vadon Foundation Fellow. She is also the recipient of an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues, received an American Book Award, and her second collection, Sublime Subliminal, was published as the finalist for the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. Priest holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

. . . . .
author photo by Savanna Estey
salmon photo from Salmon Need Water

new zine in town

April 17, 2022

Shannon P. Laws, aka Chickadee Productions, has just announced the launch of a new zine: Corridor. Taking its name from the I-5 corridor that runs north-south through much of Cascadia, the zine is now open for submissions for the inaugural issue. Read all about it here.

On a slightly related note (the connection is Bellingham and the Corridor Collective), artist Jeni Cottrell has coordinated a rotating weekly display of poetry at the seven Little Free Libraries in Fairhaven for National Poetry Month. Stroll the South Side Poetry Trail to see what’s up.

got a little poem?

April 8, 2022

It’s National Poetry Month and once again, NPR invites you to share your original poem to Twitter or TikTok using the hashtag #NPRPoetry. Find the guidelines and listen to the story here.

call for poems

March 1, 2022

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is now open for submissions from Whatcom County poets of all ages. Read the guidelines and send your best.

Questions? E-mail: BoyntonPoetryContest@hotmail.com

O, pen, be heard

February 19, 2022

If you’re interested in getting your work in front of a Cascadia audience, there are plenty of journals currently accepting submissions. While the past two years have disrupted many publications, it’s heartening to see how many are still in business.

This list includes only those that have current deadlines or read submissions year-round (deadlines are listed only if they appear on the journal’s website or submission manager). It does not include contests and, except as noted, is focused primarily on poetry submissions.

Before you submit, read the journal to see if your work is a good fit, read (and follow) the guidelines very carefully, and read your work to make sure it’s ready for prime time.

See the NW lit scene sidebar at right for a more complete list of current and archived journals, etc., in the Cascadia region.

. . . . .
image

Calling all Whatcom County poets: the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest will be open for submissions March 1 through March 31, 2022. Now in year 17, the annual contest is open to poets of all ages and all levels of writing experience. Visit the 2022 Contest page for details, learn more about this year’s judges, or just click to view/download a PDF of the 2022 guidelines. As always, submissions are free.

Poet’s Perspective

January 22, 2022

If you are a Pacific Northwest Puget Sound area writer, the city of Edmonds, Washington, invites you to submit up to two original short poems to be displayed in temporary outdoor poetry installations at two city locations. Poet’s Perspective is open to adult and youth poets. There is no fee to submit, though there are length and formatting restrictions. Entries are due February 24, 2022.

Dear Vaccine

April 28, 2021

Have something to say to the vaccine? A wish, a concern, a complaint? Write the vaccine a poem and share it as part of Dear Vaccine, a global community poem created by the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University and The University of Arizona Poetry Center. Learn more a globalvaccinepoem, where you can read the words of others in Responses or read “Dear Vaccine” by Naomi Shihab Nye and use one of the prompts provided to add your own.

one contest closes…

March 31, 2021

Today is the last day for Whatcom County residents to submit poems to the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. But fear not, there’s another contest hot on its heels (no matter where you live).

The Skagit County Historical Museum invites writers of all ages to submit work to its first Essay and Poetry Writing Contest. The theme is “The Great Hunt for Magic Skagit Stories” and the contest is open through the month of April 2021.

Find a link to the complete guidelines (PDF) on the Skagit County Historical Museum page and send in your essays or poems about the Skagit past or present.

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