The SpeakEasy poetry series is honored to feature Rena Priest, the new Washington State Poet Laureate, at SpeakEasy 28: Homecoming. Presented on Zoom on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific, the reading will also include Rena’s poet/mentors James Bertolino, Anita K. Boyle, Nancy Pagh, and Jeanne Yeasting. For a Zoom link, please send an email to othermindpress AT gmail.com.

Hear the Poetry Marathon

January 22, 2017

SpeakEasy 18: the Poetry Marathon

The Poetry Marathon challenges participants to write (and post) 24 poems in 24 hours (or 12 in 12 hours). Originated and organized by Caitlin Thomson Jans and Jacob Jans, writers and web publishers living in Cascadia, The Poetry Marathon is entirely free. In 2016, more than 500 poets worldwide participated in the full or half marathon.

SpeakEasy 18 will present a number of participating poets from the region reading selections from their marathon output. Readers include Jessica Ankeny, Ramona Elke, Janel Erchinger-Davis, Jacob Jans, J.I. Kleinberg, Nancy Pagh, Silvester Phua, Paul Sarvasy, Harvey Schwartz, Sheila Sondik, Caitlin Thomson, Jeanne Yeasting, and Tobe Zalinger.

Please join us for SpeakEasy 18 on Saturday, January 28, 2017, at 7:00pm, in the Encore Room at the Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, Washington. The event is free and copies of the 2016 Poetry Marathon Anthology will be available for purchase.

introducing the judges

March 1, 2015

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is now open for submissions from Whatcom County poets of all ages and experience. Each year, two accomplished poets who live in Whatcom County are invited to judge the submissions and select the 10 Walk Awards and 15 Merit Awards. This year’s judges are Jeanne Yeasting and Caleb Barber.

JEANNE YEASTING is a writer and visual artist. She teaches creative writing and literature at Western Washington University. Her most recent publications are poems in Cirque and the Mohave River Review.

Caleb BarberCALEB BARBER holds a BA in English from Western Washington University, as well as an MFA in poetry from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He lives in Bellingham, Washington, where he works at an aerospace machine shop. He has been widely published in literary journals, notably in Fulcrum, New Orleans Review, Los Angeles Review, and he was featured in Poet Lore. His first book, Beasts and Violins, is available from Red Hen Press. The title poem appeared in Best American Poetry 2009.
. . . . .
Caleb Barber photo by Brian Davidson

Reminder…

October 8, 2013

Workshops
TWO sets of poetry workshops coming up: two each day on Saturday, October 19 and Saturday, November 16, 2013. Take both workshops the same day and save! All proceeds benefit the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest.

Complete details on the WORKSHOPS page, including how to register.

Poetry Workshops!

September 4, 2013

Each year, a number of distinguished Northwest poets generously offer poetry workshops to benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. The workshops are lively and worthwhile. Here’s the information on this fall’s lineup. (These descriptions are also posted on the Workshops page.)

Workshops are held in the Northwest Room on the lower level of the Fairhaven branch of the Bellingham Public Library. Registration is required and all fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest: $30 per workshop or $50 for two taken the same day to be paid by check or cash at the workshop. Register by sending an email to boyntonpoetrycontest@hotmail.com indicating the workshop(s) you wish to take and including your name and a phone number. Please bring writing materials.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kevin Murphy10am – Noon ~ Kevin Murphy teaches The Poetics of Humor.
Humor is increasingly acceptable in serious poetry, and it may be impossible to write a serious poem without it. In this workshop, we’ll look at the elements of poetic comedy including irony, hyperbole and wackiness. We’ll talk about poems by James Tate, Russell Edson, Mary Ruefle, Charles Simic and others, and we’ll experiment with a way or two of wooing the muse through humor.

Kevin Murphy has been performing poetry for over 30 years. He is the author of A Beautiful Chaos Demands Energy and has released a poetry CD, Between Onions and Oxygen. He regularly performs poetry on the Chuckanut Radio Hour and has toured the Pacific Northwest and beyond as a member of the New Old Time Chautauqua. His poetry tends toward the comic and the surreal, and he frequently accompanies himself on guitar and percussion. Kevin Murphy was born on a U.S. Army base in Stuttgart, Germany, grew up in the suburbs of Albany, New York, and is the survivor of 13 years of Catholic School. He lives in Bellingham with his wife, Jeannie.

1 – 3pm ~ Jeanne Yeasting teaches The Prose Poem.
“Which one of us, in his moments of ambition, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical, without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?” Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), from a letter to Arsene Houssaye, sent with Paris Spleen, his book of prose poems.
What is a prose poem? What makes prose poetry tick? This two-hour, hands-on, interactive workshop will introduce the prose poem form; consider the line between “regular” poetry, prose poetry, and prose; and try our hands at writing our own prose poems. We’ll do some serious play with poetics and images. A background in poetry is not necessary, but a willingness to experiment, to luxuriate in reading writing aloud, and to move beyond your habitual writing patterns and style is desirable.

Jeanne Yeasting is a writer and visual artist living in Bellingham. She teaches creative writing and literature at Western Washington University. One of her recent prose poems, Discriminating Distinction, can be seen on the Washington Poet Laureate’s website, “The Far Field.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Caleb Barber10am – Noon ~ Caleb Barber teaches Writing the Insignificant.
What happened on your way home from work today? Where was it you found the missing shoe? In this workshop we will explore the poetry of the day-to-day, discovering subtle profundity in the casual conversations, odd encounters, and mild annoyances of routine life. With guidance from examples across a broad spectrum, we will write the poetry that fills the space between the milestones.

Caleb Barber holds a BA in English from Western Washington University, as well as an MFA in poetry from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He lives in Bellingham, Washington, where he works at an aerospace machine shop. He has been widely published in literary journals, notably in Fulcrum, New Orleans Review, Los Angeles Review, and he was featured in Poet Lore. His first book, Beasts and Violins, is available from Red Hen Press. The title poem appeared in Best American Poetry 2009.

Richard Widerkehr1 – 3pm ~ Richard Widerkehr teaches Poetic Diction: Words You Can Fit in a Wheelbarrow, Words You Can’t.
Diction means word choice. Looking at our images and language—high, low, or mixed; slang or formal, plain or fancy—can be a way into talking about voice, the kinds of poem we’re writing, what we may want to try doing. Using some examples of contemporary and past poems, we’ll discuss mixing high and low diction, living at one end of the spectrum or the other, and making leaps. There will be prompts for in-class writing and chances for those who want to read their work aloud to do so.

Award-winning poet Richard Widerkehr has had two recent collections of poems published: The Way Home (Plain View Press) and Her Story of Fire (Egress Studio Press), along with two chapbooks. Tarragon Books published his novel about a geologist, Sedimental Journey. He’s taught at the University of Hawaii and worked as a counselor on a mental health unit of a hospital.

SpeakEasy 11

The ongoing Bellingham-based poetry series, SpeakEasy, will present a new theme in a new venue for its eleventh program. Poet’s Mind: concept and process, on Saturday, June 29, 2013, at 7:00pm, will feature ten poets, each reading and discussing a single poem.

The featured poets are Luther Allen, Caleb Barber, Matthew Brouwer, Ryler Dustin, Susan J. Erickson, J.I. Kleinberg, Nancy Pagh, Sheila Sondik, Caitlin Thomson and Jeanne Yeasting.

After a number of very successful gatherings at The Amadeus Project, which has now closed, SpeakEasy 11 will take place at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Avenue in Fairhaven. Admission is by donation.

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