Recent-past Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna has a new book of poems (her fourth), Cipota Under the Moon, about love, light, and children’s resilience in the face of war. She will be reading from its pages next Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 7:00pm. Co-presented by The Seattle Public Library and Elliott Bay Book Company, the event will be held in person at the Seattle Central Library and will also be live-streamed. Joining Claudia will be poet Leticia Hernández-Linares. The event is free, with registration.

Joined by Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest and other special guests, Claudia Castro Luna will also read from her new book in a special event hosted by Floating Bridge Press. Presented on Friday, June 3, 2022, at 7:00pm, the in-person event will be held at the Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery in Seattle. Seating is very limited. To attend this free event, RSVP to editor [AT] floatingbridgepress.org.

And finally (for now), head over to YouTube to watch Claudia’s KING 5 interview with Amity Addrisi on New Day NW.

chapbook launch

December 3, 2021

Floating Bridge Press invites you to join Judith Skillman and Margot Kahn for an online reading of their brand-new Floating Bridge chapbooks, “Oscar the Misanthropist” and “A Quiet Day with the West on Fire,” respectively.

The Zoom reading will be held this Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 4:00pm Pacific. The event is free but registration is required.

This is a guest post by Rena Priest.

So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.” Virginia Woolf

I first read this quote from “A Room of One’s Own” while lounging in a bathtub in Spokane. I was 19, and it was cold, and a hot bath was the best, cheapest way to stay warm. I was very poor, and this idea that writing what you wanted was more precious than silver, well, it was exhilarating.

For many years I stayed true. I said as much of what I wanted to say as my abilities would allow. But recently, I’ve felt daunted by having so little to show for the years and effort I’ve devoted to writing. What I “want” to write has changed. I no longer want to write the truth in my soul. My soul has too much grief, too many expletives, and not enough flowers, birds, or sunsets to appeal to mainstream poetry audiences.

These days, I want to write the kind of poem that I can screen print on a pillow and sell on Instagram by the truckload. I want to write a sing-song children’s book that will fly off the shelves like hot-cakes so that I can cast off the shackles of my student loans.

Last year, for the first time, I made sacrifices from the hair of the head of my vision and went for the silver pot. At the urging of a colleague, I applied for and was awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society to write about a captive killer whale. I did the work. I researched, and I wrote and rewrote and rewrote again and again until I had a draft of something that someone else would perhaps pay money to read.

In the beginning, it wasn’t writing that I wanted to do so much as writing that must be done. I was doing it for the cause, and the byline. Eventually, the story drew me in. It raised questions in me. I became deeply invested in the whale’s fate. The more I learned about her, the more imperative it became to share her story. Nothing has ever felt so important to get right as the story of this whale, and I have never been so engrossed or challenged in my writing.

In the end, my vision aligned with the work, bringing me to this conclusion: If you don’t want to write something, you’ll half-ass it for a while until you chuck it and start over, or you won’t do it. But if you give yourself to the writing — authentically give yourself to it — you’ll be true to your vision. It can’t be otherwise. Not “a shade of its colour” will be sacrificed.

Publishing, however, is a whole other story. 😉

. . . . .

Read “A captive orca and a chance for our redemption” by Rena Priest, just published in High Country News.

. . . . .

Rena Priest is a poet and a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. Her literary debut, Patriarchy Blues, was honored with a 2018 American Book Award. Her most recent collection, Sublime Subliminal, was published by Floating Bridge Press. Priest’s work can be found in literary journals and anthologies including: For Love of Orcas, Pontoon, and Poetry Northwest. She has attended residencies at Hawthornden Castle, Hedgebrook, and Mineral School. She is a National Geographic Explorer and a Jack Straw Writer (2019). She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

silver anniversary reading

October 21, 2019

Floating Bridge Press is 25 and will celebrate the occasion with release readings from the 2019 Chapbook Competition winner, Katrina Roberts, finalist, Elizabeth Vignali, and the inaugural winner of the Evergreen Award Tour Full-length competition, Jory Mickelson.

Join in the celebration at The Elliott Bay Book Company on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 3:00pm.

congratulations!

June 10, 2017

Floating Bridge Press has announced the winners of their annual Poetry Chapbook Competition. More than a hundred Washington state poets submitted chapbooks for consideration. The judges selected 13 semifinalists, and from these chose this year’s winner, “Night Watch,” by Katy E. Ellis of Seattle, and two finalists, “The Meanest Things Pick Clean,” by Benjamin Cartwright of Spokane Falls, and “The Myth of Man,” by Alex Vigue of Ridgefield.

Here is the list of the semifinalists:

Scott Ferry “Book of 24 Streets”
Catherine Bull “Braless in the Apocalypse”
Lauren Gilmore “Common Teenage Mythology”
Ben Read “Count Each Body Twice”
Thomas Walton “How Can I Say the Lovely Rodents Blinding Me”
Demi Wetzel “Life of the Party”
Julianna Buckmiller “Neurotransmitters”
Judith Skillman “Once Upon a Yellow Sky”
Armin Tolentino “The Hard Hand of Cataclysm”
Elizabeth Vignali & Kami Westhoff “Your Body a Bullet”

Congratulations, one and all!
See more on Facebook.

July 7 reading - Floating Bridge
Floating Bridge Press presents a free reading and conversation with Risa Denenberg, Sue Sutherland-Hanson, and Katy E. Ellis, with host Kathleen Flenniken. At the Fremont Branch, Seattle Public Library, 6:30-7:45 p.m.

catching up…

May 20, 2014

Floating Bridge

In case you missed last week’s news, Floating Bridge Press has announced the winners of their 2014 Chapbook Competition. From submissions numbering close to 130 manuscripts, “many of exceptional quality,” the judges selected the 2014 winner, John Whalen of Spokane, for his manuscript, “Above the Pear Trees.” The other finalists were Maya Jewell Zeller of Spokane for “The Earth, That Other Sky,” Jennifer Bullis of Bellingham for “Amanda Bubble Is Nearly On Fire,” Dennis Caswell of Woodinville for “O.” and Michael Schmeltzer for “Elegy/Elk River.”

John Whalen’s chapbook will be published this fall and a reading in Seattle will include the winner and finalists. For additional details, visiting Floating Bridge Press online and on Facebook. Visit the Boynton Blog CALENDAR page for upcoming readings from Floating Bridge and many, many others.

got chapbook?

February 6, 2014

Floating Bridge

Are you a Washington State poet? Do you have a collection of poems ready for publication? If so, Floating Bridge Press invites you to submit up to 24 pages of poems to the annual chapbook competition. There is a $12 reading fee and submissions must be received by Saturday, March 1, 2014.

A Seattle-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit literary arts organization founded in 1994, Floating Bridge Press publishes books, anthologies, broadsides and the annual Floating Bridge Review — all means “to recognize and promote the work of Washington State poets.”

Learn more about Floating Bridge Press and the Chapbook Award, including past winners, on the Floating Bridge website and visit Floating Bridge on Facebook.

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