what to do if…

March 4, 2020

Perhaps, amidst it all, you’ve decided, fever or no, that the best thing would be to stay home and mind your own business for a while. Here are ten things you could do:

  • Stay off social media for 24 hours.
  • Dust your books.
  • Open a poetry book at random and read the poem that’s there (go back a page or two to the beginning of the poem if it’s not on that page).
  • Choose a line from that poem that particularly resonates and use it — as an epigraph or a line (credited of course) — to launch a poem of your own.
  • Read through your old diary entries (ten or more years past, preferably) and turn the text into poems.
  • Submit your writing to a journal or a contest.
  • Use what you have on hand — paper, thread, rubber bands, glue, glitter, wire, screws, markers, photographs, etc. — to create a collage poem, whatever you imagine that to be.
  • Call someone you’ve been missing.
  • Assemble that earthquake kit you’ve been meaning to put together.
  • Exchange poems with a friend. Read, respond, and repeat.

P.S.: If your event is listed on the CALENDAR page and you’ve decided, for whatever reason, to cancel it, please leave a Comment here and we’ll mark it accordingly.

Stay well. Send news.

meanwhile in Manassas

August 23, 2019

Here’s another community that’s found a way to bring poetry into the conversation. In Manassas, Virginia, a local writers organization, Write by the Rails, is placing framed poems in local shops, galleries, libraries, bookstores, cafes, and other civic and commercial locations. Participation in Poems Around Town is offered at no cost to the host location and is promoted on social media. Seems like a win-win.

meanwhile, in Duluth

March 16, 2019

The new poet laureate of Duluth, Minnesota, Gary Boelhower, has figured out a simple way to get poetry to a wider audience: offer free copies in bookstores, coffee shops, and other places people gather. Local poets submit poems, the project makes copies, and they’re distributed in designated “Local FREE Poetry” boxes around town. So far, Boelhower is offering 41 poems by 11 poets in 12 boxes. Nice idea.

Read more in the Duluth News Tribune.

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Send a postcard poem

August 15, 2017

A number of youth-serving organizations in Charlottesville have come together for the #DearYoungPerson campaign. They are asking people everywhere to send postcards of support and encouragement to Charlottesville youth, many of whom are experiencing the community’s confusion, anger, sadness, and frustration. 85% of the youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters in Charlottesville are of color. Most of the participating organizations serve diverse populations of children and youth whose identities were publicly attacked on Friday and Saturday.

Send a note, a postcard or a poem to P.O. Box 814, Charlottesville, VA 22902, and your message of support will be distributed by youth-serving organizations in Charlottesville, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia, Madison House, The PB&J Fund, Piedmont CASA – Charlottesville, Piedmont Family YMCA, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, Albemarle County Parks & Recreation, and the City of Charlottesville.

See more on Facebook.

Writers Resist

January 15, 2017

Writers Resist Bellingham

Today, Sunday, January 15, 2017, writers of every stripe, from communities around the world, are coming together to commit to the fundamental principles of democracy. Events are planned for many cities, including

Visit the Writers Resist website for more information.


Poet Carla Shafer, well known around Cascadia as the founder (1993) and guiding spirit of the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater, has forwarded several invitations for poets and poetry lovers.

First, there’s the World Peace Poets Third Annual Read-In, which is happening tomorrow, Saturday, October 24, 2015, at St. James Presbyterian Church, 910 14th Street, Bellingham, Washington. This is a free, public event with special musical guests. Doors open at 5:00pm. A light dinner will be served at 5:30 along with coffee and tea. Readings begin at 6:15pm and 30-40 poets and musicians will present until about 9:30pm.

Next, there’s the Thanksgiving Community Concert to be held on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 25, 2015, at 7:00pm, also at St. James Presbyterian Church. The evening will include the reading of three poems selected from open submissions. Poets may submit up to three poems (maximum 35 lines or 1-2 minutes each) on the theme of thankfulness. Suggestions from Carla: “A short narrative poem on a Thanksgiving memory, lyrical or commentary poem on thankfulness related to life today. Start with a repeating line, such as: I am thankful when… It can be humorous or serious, but a poem or a prose poem. Avoid end rhymes.” Use the subject line Thanksgiving poem and send as a pdf or MSword attachment to chuckanutsandstone@gmail.com. The deadline is Noon on Sunday, November 1.

Finally, poets are invited to submit up to three poems in which rain is the theme or a significant metaphor for a Pacific Northwest rain anthology. Poems can be up to 1-1/2 pages long. Readers “will want to read this under an umbrella, in front of a warm fire, or until they feel drenched in the solemn or giddy joy or the overwhelming dreariness of rain.” Use the subject line RAIN POEM 11.15.2015 and send as a pdf or MSword attachment to chuckanutsandstone@gmail.com. The deadline is midnight on Sunday, November 15.

Get on board…

November 8, 2014

King County, Washington

Celebrate with poets, musicians and bus riders of every stripe as Poetry on Buses marks its official launch on Monday, November 10, 2014, 6:30pm – 9:00pm, at the Moore Theatre in Seattle. The event is free and will include readings by 36 local poets in English, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese; live music by Love City Love; special appearances by Seattle Fandango Project, Marianna and Youth Speaks Seattle; and the premiere of the Writing Home Collection — all 365 poems!

If you can’t make it to the party — or even if you do — you can enjoy a new poem every day for the next year (starting Monday) by visiting Poetry on Buses.

Visit Poetry on Buses on Facebook and read more in the Seattle Times.

Poetry on Buses

October 1, 2014

King County, Washington

This year’s ambitious King County, Washington, project known as Poetry on Buses is nearing completion and getting ready for a November launch.

Founded in 1992, Poetry on Buses is sponsored by 4Culture and King County Metro. The 2014 project, coordinated by poet Roberto Ascalon, involved a series of eight Community Poetry Workshops (in English, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese) and yielded a selection of 365 winning poems.

All 365 poems will be featured, one a day, on the Poetry on Buses website and 125 of them will appear on select RapidRide buses or stations around King County.

The official launch party will be held on Monday, November 10, 2014, at Seattle’s Moore Theatre. All of the poems will be on display, 36 of the poets will read, plus there will be live music and special guests. It’s free, so mark your calendar, visit Poetry on Buses on Facebook, and then watch for the roll-out of Poetry on Buses around King County.

Here’s a link to more poetry on buses projects.

a project to love…

March 18, 2014

Write A House

The Boynton blog focuses primarily on the literary world of Washington state, the Pacific Northwest, Cascadia — the upper left-hand corner of the U.S. map and sometimes across the border into our near-neighbor, Canada. Yet every once in a while, a project captures our attention that has no obvious connection with the region but is of such creative scope and vision that a couple of thousand miles seems nothing at all.

Such is Write A House. “Write A House is a twist on the ‘Writer’s Residency.’ In this case, the writer is simply given the house, forever.”

Here’s how they describe themselves: “In short, this is what we’re up to: We would like to refurbish homes in Detroit neighborhoods and give them as grants to writers. That is the short answer. The longer answer is that when we refurbish these homes, we will be working with Young Detroit Builders, educating youth on rebuilding and renovation. We will also not simply be randomly choosing homes, but rather we will be looking for Detroit neighborhoods that we think could be stabilized with the addition of a few more stable residents.”

You just have to admire this kind of ambition, vision and pluck.

Learn more on the Write A House website. Like Write A House on Facebook. To support their efforts, Write A House is crowdsourcing on Fundly. Tell your friends.

Holiday spirit year round

December 21, 2013

Poetry CaravanThe Poetry Caravan doesn’t have much of a website and it’s not on Facebook, but since the group was founded in 2003 by Usha Akella, Poetry Caravan’s volunteers have brought their words and voices to “hospitals, senior centers, assisted living facilities, shelters, jails” and other sites throughout Westchester County, New York. Now numbering 35 poets, the group’s mission “is to bring poets and poetry to people in our community who cannot reach poetry on their own.” At these free readings throughout the year, they read their own work along with classics. Bravo, Poetry Caravan!

Learn more about Poetry Caravan from Dr. Ruth Handel, the organization’s current manager.
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