The poets (Dayna Patterson, Jennifer Bullis, Bruce Beasley, Luther Allen, and Susan Alexander) will continue their poetic musings in Round 4 of SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread on Saturday, February 6, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific.

By this point in the linked series, spirit and virus are inextricably entwined. The intimacy of breath and the magnitude of the imponderable are stitched together. The poems reach back not only to the immediately preceding poem, but also to the entire collection, now some six months in the making.

The reading is free on Zoom with a password, available by sending an email to othermindpress AT gmail.com. See the poets’ bios and links to videos of the previous three readings on the SpeakEasy 27 page.

Please tune in to SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread for the third round (of five) on Saturday, January 16, 2021, 7:00pm Pacific, as poets Susan Alexander, Luther Allen, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Bullis, and Dayna Patterson read and comment on their poems from this linked series of writings on spirituality.

Series info, poet bios, videos of previous rounds, and sign-in information are available on the SpeakEasy 27 page and on Facebook. Free on Zoom with password.

The final two rounds of the series are scheduled for Saturday, February 6, and Saturday, February 27, 2021.

Round 2, this Saturday

December 7, 2020

After a warming response to Round 1, SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread will offer Round 2 of this linked-poem series on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at 7:00pm Pacific. As with Round 1, Susan Alexander, Luther Allen, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Bullis, and Dayna Patterson will each read one poem linked to the previous poem (or poems), discuss the linkage, and whatever else is on their mind. At the end of the reading there will be further discussion and questions from listeners.

The poets’ bios and a video link to Round 1 are available on the SpeakEasy 27 page (video link is at the very bottom).

Request a Zoom link for Round 2 by sending a note to othermindpress@gmail.com.

Mapping Literary Utah

November 9, 2020

We’ve mentioned various poetry-mapping projects, including Washington Poetry Routes, and here’s another worthwhile addition to the list: Mapping Literary Utah. Created by Paisley Rekdal, Utah’s fifth poet laureate, the archive includes poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction by hundreds of native-born Utahns, current residents, and writers who spent a significant period of their creative life in the state.

Among the writers is Dayna Patterson, who will be teaching a two-hour poetry workshop, “Exploring the Feminine Divine,” this Saturday, November 14, 2020, and will also be one of five featured poets the same evening for SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread.

In November 2019, Luther Allen invited four poets to join him in creating a series of linked poems on a spiritual theme for the next SpeakEasy. No one could have imagined either the scope of the project or the many challenges 2020 would set in the way.

The idea is quite simple: one person writes a poem; the second person writes a poem in response; the third person writes a poem in response to poem 2, etc. It had been a very successful approach in 2014, when SpeakEasy 14: String Theory presented un-themed linked poems by five poets.

In his invitation, Luther suggested that each poet would have about a week to respond to the poem they had received, and that SpeakEasy 27 would probably happen in April or May. All of the invited poets — Susan Alexander, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Bullis, and Dayna Patterson — accepted the invitation and the writing commenced.

By the end of the first round of five poems, the word pandemic had surfaced. It soon became apparent that schedules could not be imposed on the shape, content, or duration of these poems. Nine months and 60 pages of poetry later, SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread stands as a poetic testament to a year quite unlike any other.

Over the coming months, the poets will read and comment on their poems in a series of free readings on Zoom. The first reading will be on Saturday, November 14, 2020, at 7:00pm Pacific. To participate, send an email to othermindpress@gmail.com. You will receive sign-in information by email.

Coming up: workshop!

October 14, 2020

If you have been intrigued by Dayna Patterson’s recent guest post, readings, or poetry, please consider joining Dayna as she leads a poetry workshop to benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. “Exploring the Feminine Divine” will be held online on Saturday, November 14, 2020, 10:00am-Noon. Advance registration is required.

Read a complete description on the Workshops page. TO REGISTER for Dayna’s workshop, please submit your payment of $30 via Venmo (www.venmo.com/SueC-BoyntonContest ) OR by check (payable to Sue C. Boynton Contest) mailed to PO Box 5442, Bellingham, WA 98227-5442. If you would like to be notified by email, please send an email requesting workshop information to: the Boynton Poetry Contest boyntonpoetrycontest@hotmail.com.

To learn more about Dayna Patterson, visit her website.

Poetry Karma

October 7, 2020

This is a guest post by
Dayna Patterson

Do you have a poem or book of poetry you’d like to promote, but feel like doing so in the midst of social injustice, climate catastrophe, and pandemic would shrivel up your soul like a spider on a hot stove? How can you garner attention for something you’ve worked so hard for without feeling like you’ve become one of Voldemort’s horcruxes, or Freddy Krueger’s cousin, or the demogorgon from Stranger Things? Well, let me tell you about Poetry Karma.

First of all, I just made that up. Poetry Karma is not a real thing, except in my head, and maybe soon it will live in your head, too. Poetry Karma is a way I’ve been framing my interactions with the poetry world for going on a decade now, and I’ve found it especially helpful when so much is transpiring in the world.

You already know what karma is. When you do good to others, you acquire good karma, like an angelic nimbus that trails you wherever you go. When you harm others, your karma begins to resemble a storm cloud, heavy with potential lightning that could strike back at you at any given moment.

Poetry Karma, then, is the kinds of energy you draw toward yourself based on your interactions within the literary community of readers, writers, editors, and publishers. Do good to others, and your poetry karma will hold onto that good like a warm coat in winter.

We all know or have heard of folks in the literary community who have bad Poetry Karma: they only promote their own work; they take, take, take; they tear down other writers; they don’t earnestly engage with the work of others; they are attention-seekers; they misappropriate and/or plagiarize, inconsiderate of the harm they inflict; their Poetry Karma is ravaged by ego.

So how can you influence your Poetry Karma for good? To my mind, amassing positive Poetry Karma can involve many different approaches:

  1. Write book reviews. If you want folks to write reviews of your books, start building up your good Poetry Karma right now by setting a book review goal for yourself. How many books can you reasonably review in a year? A month? Alternatively, you could interview another poet for a literary journal about their new book.
  2. Share and promote the work of others on social media. Chelsea Dingman and Nicole Sealey are wonderful examples of poets who strengthen community by encouraging folks to read and share the work of others. When you’re sharing, examine your intentions. If you’re sharing just to be noticed by a prominent poet or poets, that action can actually damage your Poetry Karma rather than enhancing it.
  3. Volunteer your time to read or edit for a literary journal (or start your own!).
  4. Volunteer your time to help run or organize local poetry events, conferences, festivals, etc.
  5. Engage in a collaborative writing project, which will help to suppress that ravenous beast Ego.
  6. Celebrate the achievements of others. Be liberal with your sincere praise.
  7. Start a poetry blog where you share news and submission information (props to J.I. Kleinberg, Trish Hopkinson, Derek Annis, and others who are doing this kind of work!).
  8. Volunteer to teach a poetry workshop (maybe for your kid’s class, or for inmates, or for your neighbors, or . . . ).
  9. Start a writing group and be generous with your feedback and encouragement.
  10. [Fill in your own idea here. I’m sure you’ve got plenty. You’re a poet, after all!]

Will it still feel weird to promote your book or poem or literary event? Yes. But you can engage in activities to strengthen your good Poetry Karma. You can publicize your stuff and balance those look-at-me moments by boosting and uplifting others.

. . . . .

Dayna Patterson’s first collection, If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020), was released around the same time COVID struck the U.S. She’s been trying to publicize the book while not feeling like a jerk all of the time. She is also the founding editor of Psaltery & Lyre, an online literary journal dedicated to publishing literature at the intersection of faith and doubt. More at daynapatterson.com.

[Ed. note: Dayna Patterson will read from If Mother Braids a Waterfall as part of the 2020 Utah Humanities Book Festival on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 7:00pm Mountain / 6:00pm Pacific. The reading is free but registration is required.]

. . . . .

Photo of Jain Temple ceiling ornament, Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India, by Shakti

Author photo by Mariana Patterson

festival season, continued

September 12, 2020

With more annual festivals going virtual, the possibilities for armchair travel continue. The Utah Humanities Book Festival, now in its 23rd year, will be entirely virtual and feature scores of authors, events, and virtual conversations. The program starts today, Saturday, September 12, 2020, and continues through Thursday, October 22. The schedule is impressive and includes plenty of familiar names, such as Dayna Patterson. The events are free on Zoom with advance registration.

SoulFood streams

July 14, 2020

SoulFood Poetry Night (Redmond, Washington) has been on hiatus for altogether too long, but this Thursday, July 16, 2020, 7:00pm Pacific, SoulFood will celebrate their 14th anniversary with a live streaming reading by Dayna Patterson (If Mother Braids a Waterfall) and Jory Mickelson (Wilderness / / Kingdom). There will also be an open mic, so bring your poems.

You can find the poets’ bios and Zoom link on the SoulFood page and on Facebook.

Western C.A.R.E.S. (Community, Activities, Resources, Education, Support) is a resource for community connection to maintain a sense of belonging and bring people together. A variety of interactive online programs are available.

Today, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 4:00pm Pacific, Dayna Patterson will interview Jami Macarty, author of The Minuses (Colorado State University) and three chapbooks of poetry, former Executive Director of Tucson Poetry Festival, instructor of poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University, and co-founder and editor of the online poetry journal The Maynard.

The program is free on Zoom, but advance registration is required. Just follow this link to register.

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