vispo for NatPoMo

April 9, 2021

If you are interested in visual poetry, AngelHousePress is posting a new vispo piece each day of National Poetry Month at NationalPoetryMonth.ca. Amanda Earl, the “fallen angel” of AngelHousePress, writes:

The work in this year’s collection is kinetic, vibrant, and geometric. Through videos, collages, asemic writing, pictorals, self-portraits, poem-objects, assemblages, erasure, photographs, scans, using paper, ink, old book paper, recycled materials, artist pens, bio-resin, hand-made stamps, graphite, fabric, paint, nailpolish, rocks and shreds of failed poems, our contributors demonstrate the playful and enriching possibilities of visual poetry and poetry itself.

The international collection, arriving one per day during April, will remain on view throughout the year.

so many books!

April 8, 2021

It’s National Poetry Month and the shelves are bulging with new titles. Here is a selection of recent recommendations:

To recommend your favorite must-read poetry titles (old or new), just leave a Comment.

library news

April 6, 2021

In addition to National Poetry Month, this is National Library Week, we thought we’d highlight some library-linked poetry news, and, in particular, poetry for young people.

To begin, check out the Seattle Public Library list of recent books of poetry for kids.

From Western Washington University, the Children & Teen Poetry Collection (Poetry CHaT) has a busy lineup of good news. They will be highlighting the Oral History Collection throughout the month, beginning on April 4, 2021, with Naomi Shihab Nye. Other featured poets are Nikki Grimes (April 7), Sara Holbrook/Michael Salinger (April 10), Kwame Alexander (April 13), Marilyn Singer (April 16), Joyce Sidman (April 20), Rebecca Kai Dotlich (April 23), Janet Wong (April 26), and Melissa Sweet (April 29). Look for details on Facebook throughout the month.

In more PoetryCHaT news, the much-celebrated poet and author of children’s poetry books, Jack Prelutsky, has donated his Children’s Antiquarian Poetry Collection worth over $30,000 to PoetryCHaT, with an additional $8,000 for cataloging expenses. This is a treasure trove of children’s poetry, with items that date back to the 1700s, and an enormous resource for scholars. Cataloging of the Jack and Carolynn Prelutksy Manuscript and Rare Book Collection is underway, with a gala to follow as conditions allow.

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Rena Priest has been appointed 2021-2023 Washington State Poet Laureate by Governor Jay Inslee.

A member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, Priest will be the first Indigenous poet to assume the role. Priest’s literary debut, Patriarchy Blues, was honored with the 2018 American Book Award, and her most recent work is Sublime Subliminal.

The two-year term officially begins April 15, 2021. She will succeed Claudia Castro Luna, the current poet laureate. Prior to Castro Luna the position was held by Tod Marshall (2016-2018), Elizabeth Austen (2014–2016), Kathleen Flenniken (2012–2014), and Sam Green (2007–2009).

“I am incredibly excited and honored to take on this role,” said Priest. “I’m fascinated by the way people come together around poetry. I am always delighted by how they gather in quiet rooms and let themselves be drawn in, lit up, and transformed by the words of other people. It’s a powerful way of connecting.”

The Washington State Poet Laureate program is jointly sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA). Poets laureate work to build awareness and appreciation of poetry — including the state’s legacy of poetry — through public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations in communities throughout the state.

“The position of Poet Laureate in our state is so much more than ceremonial,” said Humanities Washington CEO Julie Ziegler. “It’s a dedicated outreach position where you meet with thousands of people each year, using poetry and language as a starting point for connection.”

Laureates are selected through an application and panel review process that evaluates candidates’ writing acumen, commitment to reaching diverse communities, and experience promoting poetry.

“The panel was impressed by Rena’s skill and compelling nature of her poetry and work,” said ArtsWA Executive Director Karen Hanan. “She was also chosen for the depth and breadth of her connections to communities and her capacity to further extend those connections through her role as State Poet Laureate.”

Each laureate puts their own unique focus on the position, and Priest will focus on two primary goals during her term: celebrating poetry in Washington’s tribal communities; and using poetry to increase appreciation of the natural world and the threats facing it.

“There are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington, composed of 140,714 tribal citizens,” said Priest. “I’m sad to say that in the hundreds of poetry readings I’ve attended over the years, I’ve only met a handful of Native poets. I know that this is not because we don’t exist, but because we don’t have the same access to writing communities as people living in cities and towns.”

For the environmental piece, she “hopes to use poetry and story to invite readers to engage in contemplation of how they can help protect the natural world.”

“We are in an important historical moment when science has given us a deadline to make significant changes to heal our planet,” she said. “I want to use poetry as a tool to offer new perspectives and generate enthusiasm for the idea that we can slow and reverse the effects of ecological destruction simply by loving the Earth.”

Priest was drawn to poetry from an early age. Her grandmother published a small chapbook of poetry, and she cites that and Shel Silverstein’s book Where the Sidewalk Ends as “among the finest gifts I’ve ever been given.” And as a child, Priest would lie in bed at night and “whisper pleasing word combinations. It was the best thing I knew how to do. It’s still the best thing I know how to do.”

In addition to winning the American Book Award for Patriarchy Blues, Priest’s latest book is Sublime Subliminal. She has received the Allied Arts Foundation 2020 Professional Poets Award, and residency fellowships from Hawthornden Castle, Hedgebrook, and Mineral School. She is also the recipient of the 2020 Vadon Foundation Fellowship. She is a National Geographic Explorer and a 2019 Jack Straw Writer. Priest’s work can be found in Poetry Northwest, Pontoon Poetry, Verse Daily, Poem-a-Day at Poets.org, and elsewhere. She has taught Comparative Cultural Studies and Contemporary American Issues at Western Washington University and Native American Literature at Northwest Indian College. Priest holds a BA in English from Western Washington University and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

“Poetry is a gift,” said Priest. “This is my approach to it and my belief about it: I’m very lucky to have it. We all are.”

get heard!

March 5, 2021

In celebration of National Poetry Month (April), The New York Society Library invites you to record yourself reading a poem of your own or one by someone else. Add it to the collection anytime until end-of-day Friday, April 9, 2021, and NYSL will include it in 30 Days of Poetry 2021.

PIYP Day

April 30, 2020

Poem in Your PocketTo wrap up National Poetry Month, today, Thursday, April 30, 2020, is Poem in Your Pocket Day. The Academy of American Poets has a free viewable/downloadable/printable 62-page PDF that includes poems (American, Canadian, public domain), suggestions for ways to celebrate, and instructions for How to Create a Folded Swan!

Two Sylvias in Forbes

April 11, 2020

In-depth coverage of an indie poetry press is not exactly what you’d expect from Forbes. But there it is: “How Poetry Publisher Two Sylvias Press Operates And Selects New Authors” by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Happy National Poetry Month to Kelli Russell Agodon, Annette Spaulding-Convy, and Two Sylvias Press!

National Poetry Month

April 1, 2020

Every month is national poetry month around these parts, but it’s official in April: National Poetry Month and National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). The 2020 National Poetry Month poster features the award-winning artwork of student Samantha Aikman and features a line from the poem “Remember” by current U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.

It’s also National Poetry Month in Canada.

are you ready?

March 28, 2020

Poets, sharpen your quills. It’s almost National Poetry Month and that means it’s almost National/Global Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo or GloPoWriMo). Again this year, Maureen Thorson invites you to register (it’s free) for prompts and encouragement and to post your poems.

If you don’t want to follow those prompts, there are plenty of other ways to get your poems going. Some people start or join 30/30 duos or groups. Some poets commit to a theme for the month’s poems. You could sneak over to the internet and grab this list of 30 prompts by Kelli Russell Agodon. Robert Lee Brewer has again posted the annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge on Poetic Asides at Writer’s Digest. Daily prompts will begin on March 30 at Poetry Super Highway. And while National Novel Writing Month doesn’t officially begin until November, the NaNoWriMo folks are concerned about your well-being, so they have started a new initiative that includes daily prompts: #StayHomeWriMo.

However you choose to meet the challenge, get ready: 30 poems in 30 days. You can do it.

delivered fresh

March 20, 2020

How about a fresh, juicy prompt delivered to your email every morning of April, National Poetry Month? Two Sylvias Press has an all-new round of daily prompts lined up and ready for you. If you’d like some feedback on one of your poems, that option is available too. Write a poem a day in April and by May first, you have a chapbook!

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