summer in Bellingham

August 3, 2019

Among summer’s many worthwhile pursuits, Bruna Press + Archive presents Hiroshima Library, a project by poet, editor, and archivist Brandon Shimoda.

Hiroshima Library is an itinerant, sometimes spontaneous, often undisclosed collection of books on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and their ongoing afterlives, as well as the environments and situations in which the collection either publicly or privately exists. The collection consists of hibakusha testimonies, history and journalism, art and photography, poetry, novels, graphic novels and comic books, art and literary criticism, in part by the Rest House in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima; the ice cream vendor in the Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki; the reading areas in the MRT stations in Kaohsiung, Taiean; abandoned gas stations and strip malls throughout the United States and Japan; as well as mundane, workaday spaces adjacent to catastrophic life, which occupy a frequency between communal mourning and melancholy, private refreshment, and idle and free associative learning, and into which an individual (passerby, tourist, wandered, child), motivated by an aimless yet open curiosity, might enter and, for a moment, disappear.

The collection was first conceived in 1988 when Shimoda received, as a gift from his parents, a copy of of Keiji Nakazawa’s manga, I Saw It: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima: A Survivor’s True Story (English translation, 1982). That same year he visited, for the first time, the city of Hiroshima. He was ten years old.

Opening cultural, literary, historical questions thrust into consciousness by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which extinguished over 225,000 lives nearly 74 years ago, the Hiroshima Library, and its accompanying events program, co-developed with local organizations, invites new relationships with the unfathomable, unconscionable events of 1945.

On view through Sunday, September 29, 2019, Hiroshima Library will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 5 pm, or by appointment. See the complete schedule of programming on the Bruna Press website.

Meet De-Canon

May 1, 2018

The De-Canon website says it best:

De-Canon: A Visibility Project is a “pop-up library” and web resource project that will showcase literary art by writers/artists of color. Our goal is to put forth an alternative literary “canon” — or multiple canons — that are inclusive, diverse, and multi-storied in their approach to representation. De-Canon wishes to challenge existing ideas of what constitutes the North American literary canon, especially in our current culture.

Based in Portland, Oregon, De-Canon has an expansive worldview and an ambitious slate of projects, events, and participants. Have a look and a listen.

stories we love

February 7, 2018

In Ankara, Turkey, a public library in an old brick factory houses some 6,000 books. What’s surprising and wonderful about this library is that the books have been rescued from the trash by garbage collectors. With additional donations from local residents, “The collection grew so large the library now loans the salvaged books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.” Read the CNN story Garbage collectors open library with abandoned books.
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photo posted by Rudaw English


August 12, 2015

FOLIO: The Seattle Athenaeum

Athenaeum [ath-uhneeuh m, –ney-] is a word you don’t hear all that often, but there’s one growing in Seattle, so it’s time to brush up your pronunciation. Its origin in the temple of Athena, which was a center of learning in Athens, athenaeum today refers, similarly, to a library or other place of literary gathering.

Under the visionary leadership of David Brewster, FOLIO: The Seattle Athenaeum will open in January 2016 as a “a member-supported library and cultural center in the heart of Seattle.” Folio will preserve book collections and offer a circulating library, meeting and reading rooms, book-related cultural programming and work spaces for writers and others. While supported by membership, Folio will be a public asset: “Anyone may access our catalog, read books at Folio, take free books, and attend Folio’s many free or low-cost public programs.”

Folio is already settling in to its 5,000-square-foot space on two floors of the YMCA building at the corner of Fourth and Marion.

You can learn more on the Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum website, on Facebook and in this Crosscut article by Knute Berger.
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books on the go…

December 18, 2014

Visit your local library…before it visits you!

Bibliomula Fantasía de Letras
Bibliomula Fantasía de Letras, Colombia, free books on the hoof

Donkey Mobile Library
Donkey Mobile Library, Ethiopia, providing free books to children in rural areas

Elephant Mobile Library
Elephant Mobile Library, Laos, visits rural primary schools stocked with 640 Lao-language children’s books (many featuring elephants) and supplementary educational materials

Arma de Instrucción Masiva
Raúl Lemesoff’s Arma de Instrucción Masiva (Arms of Mass Instruction), Buenos Aires, free books via a converted 1979 Ford Falcon that formerly belonged to the Argentine armed forces

Camel Mobile Library
Camel Mobile Library, Kenya, carrying books across harsh terrain to children and adults without library access

Previously posted: poetry on wheels.

New book? Showcase it!

December 13, 2014

Poets House Showcase

If your poetry book (by an individual author, anthology, chapbook, biography, critical study, essay collection, CD, DVD, etc.) was published in the last year, here’s an opportunity to get it into a major collection and in front of a huge audience. Poets House (New York) invites poets and publishers to submit a single copy of each title for the Poets House Showcase, which will be held June 25 – August 15, 2015. Submission deadline: May 1, 2015.

More than 3,000 items were in the 2014 exhibition, representing work from over 650 commercial, university and independent presses.

There’s no special paperwork, but poets can email the librarian to see if a book is already in the collection. If not, Poets House suggests that you ask your publisher to send a copy or donate one yourself. All exhibited books become part of the Poets House library collection.

The Poets House library (some 60,000 volumes) is free and open to the public. The catalog is searchable online. If your book was not published in the last year, or if you would like to donate poetry books not currently in the catalog, Poets House is always happy to receive books for the collection.

open sesame!

October 29, 2014

Ferndale, Washington

Today’s the day! After years in a too-cramped facility and many months of deliberation, planning, fundraising and construction, the brand-new Ferndale Public Library, at 2125 Main Street in Ferndale, Washington, opens its doors TODAY! Designed by SHKS Architects and built by Faber Construction, the 15,000 square foot library includes a Community Room that will accommodate up to 80 people, a conference room for groups of 12 to 14, plus two smaller study rooms.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 10:00am. Meanwhile, the library is open regular hours, Monday – Thursday 10am-9pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm.

Congratulations to the Ferndale community and to everyone who had a hand in making this happen. A new library is a very good thing indeed.

Reasons to go to…Tucson

September 24, 2014

Tucson, ArizonaAs you’re planning your getaway from the short, dark days of winter, consider Tucson, Arizona, where you’ll find the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Founded in 1960, the Center has nearly 70,000 items related to poetry in its collection.

“An internationally renowned poetry library, the Poetry Center sponsors numerous University and community programs, including readings and lectures, classes and workshops, discussion groups, symposia, writing residencies, poets-in-the-schools, poets-in-the-prisons, contests, exhibitions, and online resources, including standards-based poetry curricula. An area of special emphasis within the College of Humanities, the Poetry Center is open and fully accessible to the public.”

If you’re fortunate enough to get there by December 10, 2014, be sure to take in “Lie Quietly: New Works of Karen Green.” An artist, poet and the author of Bough Down, Karen Green melds language and image into haunting and provocative artworks.

Explore the University of Arizona Poetry Center website and Facebook page, then go!
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photo by Henry Tom

of note…

April 30, 2014

April 30
Today is the last day of National Poetry Month and here are a few items of note.

  • If you’ve been intending all month to buy a poetry book (and what better way to support poets and encourage your local bookstore to stock more poetry?) hurry on down to Village Books, where all poetry books are 20% off through today only.
  • The Sue Boynton Poetry Contest judges, James Bertolino and Sheila Nickerson, have completed their labors: reading each of more than 300 submissions and selecting 10 Walk Award and 15 Merit Award winning poems. To see the names of the winning poets, click on Winners (toward the top of this page). Congratulations to the winners…and thanks to everyone who submitted to this year’s contest! The winning poems will be posted here over the coming months.
  • And meanwhile, mark your calendar for Thursday, May 15, 2014, 7:00pm, and please join local poetry lovers to honor the winners and hear the poets read their winning entries at the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Avenue, Bellingham. The event (and parking) are free. Kevin Murphy will emcee, the judges will present award certificates, chapbooks of the winning poems will be available for purchase and all poems submitted to this year’s contest will be on display.
  • It’s encouraging to learn that there’s a new library anywhere, and very good news that there’s one in Bellingham. We congratulate the South Whatcom Library (aka Sudden Valley Library) on their April 12, 2014, grand opening.
  • The second Cascadia Poetry Festival starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend: May 1-4, 2014, at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium and Spring Street Center.
  • If you’re tempted by the Chuckanut Writers Conference, June 27-28, but need a little more information, pop by Hugo House tomorrow evening, Thursday, May 1, when five members of the Conference faculty will be reading in an evening showcase.
  • And finally…you may have heard rumors of the inspiring weekly poetry reading series in Victoria, BC, Planet Earth Poetry (PEP). The series is managed and hosted by Yvonne Blomer, herself an accomplished poet with a newly-published book. You can read more about Yvonne and PEP in this space tomorrow, hear her read tomorrow evening at the Cascadia Poetry Festival and again on Sunday, May 4, at 4:00pm at Village Books. If it’s not already on your radar, Planet Earth Poetry (and Yvonne Blomer) should be!

Alternative Library, BellinghamThe Alternative Library, formerly housed in the basement of Make Shift Art Space, has relocated to 1417 Railroad Avenue in Bellingham, where it opened for business on October 4. The volunteer-run Library, which operates as a cooperative, now boasts an eclectic collection of some 12,000 volumes. Read the full story in the Western Front and find out more about the Alternative Library.
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photo by Drew Castellaw, Western Front

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