two poetry fundraisers

June 23, 2020

Two poetry organizations that are vital to Cascadia and to the wider world are holding virtual fundraising events and hope you will participate.

Tonight, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 6:00pm Pacific, the Skagit River Poetry Foundation presents Poemed and Uplifted, featuring poets Tony Curtis, Daemond Arrindell, Octavia Prosser, Olivia Elias, and Lucy Shainin. NOTE: “Due to a regional internet upload outage, we were unable to stream our live event. Thank you for your patience and I hope you will tune in on Sunday, June 28th at 6 PM for a re-broadcast of this event.”

Next Tuesday, June 30, at 5:00pm Pacific, Copper Canyon Press presents For the Future of Poetry, featuring Ellen Bass, Arthur Sze, and Jericho Brown, along with Editor-in-Chief Michael Wiegers.

Your generosity, in any amount, will be gratefully accepted.

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.

are you listening?

January 27, 2020

While we often mention poetry podcasts, it was December 2013 when we noted the then-new New Yorker Poetry Podcast series. Happily, the series has been perking along ever since.

In the latest offering, The New Yorker poetry editor Kevin Young is joined by Ellen Bass, who reads “Quahogs” by Frank X. Gaspar as well as her own poem “Because.”

Listen to the podcast and/or read the transcript of their conversation, with links to the poems, which appeared in the magazine. You can subscribe by way of the New Yorker app, available from the App Store or from Google Play.

a little kick for poetry

November 14, 2019

We recently highlighted a Kickstarter campaign for Claudia Castro Luna’s ambitious project, One River, a Thousand Voices. An all-or-nothing funding effort, it has been named a Kickstarter “Project We Love” and still needs a lot of support.

If you have a few bucks to give, crowdfunding is a lot like voting: one person, one vote, one dollar, can make a difference. It’s also instructive and intriguing to see what’s going on in the support-poetry world. For example,

Copper Canyon Press is running an all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign to support the 2020 publication of Indigo by Ellen Bass along with books by nine other authors (Traci Brimhall, Victoria Chang, Leila Chatti, John Freeman, Heather McHugh, Philip Metres, James Richardson, Alberto Ríos, and Ed Skoog).

There are also crowdfunding opportunities for poetry books, music, performance, film, and travel on IndieGoGo and gofundme (including a nearly three-year old, apparently still open, project to publish My Friend Jack, a collection of work by the late and beloved Jack McCarthy).

Most crowdfunding projects offer the option of supporting in someone’s name, so as we approach the gift-giving season, you might consider the win-win possibilities.

planning waaaaay ahead

October 25, 2019

Mark your calendar. It’s official: the 11th Biennial Skagit River Poetry Festival will be held October 1-4, 2020, in La Conner, Washington. Watch the website for details and follow on Twitter @PoetrySkagit.

This week, the Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program presents the 2018 Annual Spring Reading Series. Free and open to the public, the evening readings begin at 7:30pm in the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center, located on campus, at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street in Forest Grove, Oregon.

The readings:

  • Saturday, June 16 – Chris Abani, Ellen Bass & Kellie Wells
  • Sunday, June 17 – Sanjiv Bhattacharya, Pete Fromm & David Long
  • Monday, June 18 – Judy Blunt, Mike Magnuson & Matthew Shenoda
  • Wednesday, June 20 – Marvin Bell, Frank Gaspar & Molly Gloss
  • Thursday, June 21 – Debra Gwartney, John McNally & Mary Helen Stefaniak
  • Friday, June 22 – Claire Davis, Laura Hendrie & Dorianne Laux

Pulitzers tonight

October 6, 2016

Pulitzers in Person

Humanities Washington, Copper Canyon Press, and the Pulitzer Prizes invite you to tune in to a live-stream webcast of Pulitzers in Person: a tribute to the work of the legendary poets W.S. Merwin and Lucille Clifton. The panel features poets Ellen Bass, Maurice Manning, and Camille Rankine in conversation about what makes the work of these two Pulitzer-recognized writers so extraordinary.

The live stream begins at 7:00pm (Pacific) this evening, Thursday, October 6, 2016, here: https://www.therootschannel.com/media/honoring-ws-merwin-lucille-clifton.

This is the first of three Pulitzers in Person events. The series continues November 3 and December 7, 2016.

looking ahead to summer…

December 19, 2015

Ellen Bass Nanoose June2016

Dorianne Laux & Joseph Millar

Soon — very soon! — the days will start getting longer, and while there’s plenty of winter ahead, it’s not too soon to dream of summer escapes. The summer of 2016 will bring two dazzling poetry workshop/retreats to Annie’s Acre in Nanoose Bay, on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island.

June 3-5, Ellen Bass will offer “The World Split Open” and August 5-7, Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar will offer “The Hidden Architecture of the Poem.” Enrollment is limited. For details on the workshops and accommodations, contact Tina Biello: tbiello@shaw.ca.

Ellen Bass by Irene YoungThis is an early notice of an opportunity that will not last. In June 2016, the poet Ellen Bass will be the instructor for a weekend poetry retreat, “The World Split Open,” in Nanoose Bay (Vancouver Island), BC, Canada.

In 1968 the poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

“This weekend in June all of us — men and women — will journey into that world of truth-telling. But it isn’t so easy to tell the truth. Not only do we need courage, but we need craft. As another great writer, Willa Cather, said, ‘Only the artist . . . knows how difficult it is.’ And so we will study the craft together, reading model poems by contemporary poets and discussing central topics, such as the concept of discovery, image and metaphor, sentiment and sentimentality, and the power of sensory detail. We will engage our greatest resources — attention, precision, imagination — to bring our own new poems into being. We’ll strive for language that is accurate, fresh, and alive and we’ll learn strategies to help us write poems whose form, music, rhythm, diction, and meaning work together as an powerful whole.

“With the inspiration of this gathering, expect to surprise yourself in making poems that are more vivid, more true, more beautiful and complex than you’ve ever written before. Both experienced and beginning poets are welcome, as are teachers of poetry.”

The workshop will be held June 3-5, 2016 and is limited to 20 participants. There is camping onsite and other accommodations nearby. Cost: $550 CDN includes tuition and meals. Register with Tina at tbiello@shaw.ca.

(In a related note, Ellen Bass will offer a WordWorks talk on Controlled Chaos on September 23, 2015, and a master class the following day, both at Hugo House in Seattle. September 25-27 she will be the featured poet at LiTFUSE 2015.)
. . . . .
photo of Ellen Bass by Irene Young

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