on poetry

September 7, 2020

“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
Edith Sitwell
(September 7, 1887 – December 9, 1964)

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ekphrastic

August 28, 2019

Though we tend to think of ekphrastic poetry as an interaction with visual art, the interplay with other art forms is equally legitimate. Enter Ben Goldberg (Bb clarinet, contra-alto clarinet) and his latest release Good Day For Cloud Fishing (Pyroclastic Records).

Goldberg explains that when he read Bender, a collection of poems by Dean Young, he “right away was just crazy about them. The feeling of a dire situation where our only hope is imagination.” So he devised a plan with his producer, David Breskin. Here’s how it worked:

  1. I write a song based on one of Dean’s poems.
  2. Get my band together and record the song.
  3. Dean is in the studio. I don’t tell him which of his poems the song comes from but as he listens on headphones he writes a new poem based on what he hears.
  4. So now we have a new poem which is like the old poem filtered through a song.
  5. Repeat.

Thus Good Day For Cloud Fishing was born. It’s brand new. Listen to a track here.

Duet in Five Haiku*

June 23, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Anishka Duggal, Grade 11

At the piano
My hand crosses over yours
I don’t play the notes

Keys: our witnesses
Silent black on white eyelids
Closing at first light

Two bodies counting
Time as it moves forward now
Breaking on each beat

Our metronome wants
More than our rippling skin
As it waits sidelined

Move over now the
Practicing bench is too warm
Not meant for us both

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Anishka Duggal. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

tonight in Bellingham

August 22, 2018

Greene’s Corner, in Bellingham, will welcome poet Kevin Murphy this evening, Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The mic will be open for musicians in between sets of Kevin’s poetry. Signups begin 6:30, music at 7:00, with emcee JP Falcon Grady.

Kevin Murphy has been performing off-kilter poetry for approximately 39.5 years. A winner of a Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award in 2017, he likes to think his poetry offers many of the benefits of a round-the-world trip at a fraction of the cost. Come on down. No passport required.

come hear Harvey!

June 1, 2018

Join Harvey Schwartz and friends for the launch of his new collection of poems, Hampden Road. At Village Books in Fairhaven (Bellingham) on Thursday, June 7, 2018, the evening will start at 6:30pm as Paul and Allison Anders (father and daughter), present a mini-concert on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and voice. At 7:00pm, Harvey will read poems and share anecdotes about his life, with musical interludes by Paul and Allison.

Dickinson, sung

May 30, 2018

A Certain Slant of Light, a new recording by soprano Lisa Delan, features musical settings of Emily Dickinson poems by four American composers: Aaron Copland, Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie and Michael Tilson Thomas. Delan says:

Emily Dickinson has been a presence in my life from the age of 11, when my Uncle Dan gave me the Johnson edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, newly reprinted that year (1976). Without being aware of her poetry’s innate connection to music, I began setting Emily’s verses, creating simple tunes I sang while accompanying myself on guitar. Emily invited me into the world of poetry and inspired my enduring passion for singing the words of the great poets.

Delan also worked with composer Gordon Getty and pianist Fritz Steinegger on The White Election: A Cycle of 32 Songs for Soprano and Piano, On Poems by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

Learn more on Lisa Delan’s website and listen to samples of A Certain Slant of Light on iTunes or Pentatone.

poetry rocks

July 1, 2017

In case you missed this bit of good news, U2 is projecting poetry on the big screen during The Joshua Tree 2017 tour. The lineup of poets and poems varies from location to location. See a partial list here. According to the Toronto Sun, “The band has licensed two poems by Canadian parliamentary poet laureate George Elliott Clarke to appear as projections before every show.” If you want to see (and hear) some poetry, the Tour wraps up this round of U.S. appearances tonight in a sold-out show in Cleveland, Ohio, resumes next Saturday in London, and returns to the U.S. in September.

. . . . .
image: Alberto Ríos poem “The Border: A Double Sonnet”

Whitman, musically

April 23, 2017

A new Kickstarter project is currently seeking modest funds to complete the budget for a symphonic poem for soprano and orchestra. Composer Rob Goorhuis will write the score for Walt Whitman’s poem A Child Said, What Is The Grass from Leaves of Grass.

The world premiere of the completed work will be performed by the Dutch Fanfare Orchestra with soprano Fenna Ograjensek at the Dutch National Championships Finals on November 12, 2017, in Enschede, The Netherlands. Read more on Kickstarter.

words and music workshop

March 14, 2017

Musician JP Falcon Grady and poet Betty Scott are offering a workshop titled “Poetic Justice” through Whatcom Community College Community Ed program on Saturday, March 18, 9:30am to 4:30pm. Together, participants will laugh, be creative, thoughtful and inspired. Write from prompts, discuss communication strategies that build trust and explore the joys and challenges of creative collaborations moving through the inevitable “fall-apart” stage of re-visioning or restructuring a work in progress. It is bound to be a lively workshop.

See the complete lineup of Chuckanut Writers Writing Classes and a link to the course description and registration information.

on poetry

September 8, 2016

Jack Prelutsky“I’m never bored.”
Jack Prelutsky
(b. September 8, 1940)

Today being the birthday of Jack Prelustsky, this seems an auspicious occasion to invite you to join the poet at a special free talk and musical poetry performance on Saturday, October 1, 2016, 4:30pm, in the Wilson Library Reading Room at Western Washington University, Bellingham.

If you grew up enjoying Prelutsky’s humorous and imaginative verse, this is a great opportunity to enjoy his words anew and discover how deeply music is entwined with his poetry. These days, Jack is more likely to appear on a concert stage than in a library or bookstore.

While Jack has been making words rhyme for over 45 years, he began as a folk singer in coffeehouses with aspirations of becoming an operatic tenor. By chance, he took his first poems, descriptions of fanciful creatures, to Susan Hirschman, editor at Macmillan. She suggested that he write about real animals, and with her encouragement, Jack’s first book, A Gopher in the Garden, was published in 1967. Since then he has published more than 70 books of poetry. In 2006, the Poetry Foundation designated Jack Prelutsky as the nation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate.

This special all-ages event is being offered by WWU Western Libraries PoetryCHaT, part of the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection.
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