February 27, 2020

In case you missed it, The Common has published “Poetry-Making as Empathy Play: An Interview with Oliver de la Paz,” in which the poet reflects on his most recent book, The Boy in the Labyrinth (University of Akron Press, 2019).

Previously a Bellingham resident, Oliver de la Paz teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University. He will be participating in several events at next week’s AWP Conference in San Antonio.

P.S.: Today, February 27, is his birthday and we wish him the best.

Rainier Arts Center reading

For your calendar: Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 7:30pm, the Rainier Arts Center (Seattle) presents Tod Marshall and guests. Enjoy an evening of poetry and conversation with Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall and special guests Claudia Castro Luna, Oliver de la Paz, and Sierra Golden. See the Facebook event page for poet profiles and other details. Should be good!

this Thursday!

September 29, 2014

poetry reading

Mark your calendar and get there early to claim a seat in the Village Books Readings Gallery as Oliver de la Paz and Susan Rich read poetry from their latest books this Thursday, October 2, 2014, at 7:00pm.

support your local poet

August 4, 2014

We’re always happy to hear of new books from local* poets. Here are a few recent (and very recent) titles. Follow the links for information on the books and their authors:

Anita K. Boyle - The DrenchedAnita K. Boyle
The Drenched
Egress Studio Press

Caitlin Thomson - Incident ReportsCaitlin Thomson
Incident Reports
Hyacinth Girl Press

C.J. Prince - Mother, May I?C.J. Prince
Mother, May I?

Shannon Laws - Odd Little ThingsShannon P. Laws
Odd Little Things
Chickadee Productions

Oliver de la Paz - Post SubjectOliver de la Paz
Post Subject: a Fable
The University of Akron Press

James Bertolino - Ravenous BlissJames Bertolino
Ravenous Bliss
MoonPath Press

*We use the word local not to regionalize the poetry or the poets’ reputations, but because these poets are our neighbors, co-residents in the upper left-hand corner of the U.S. The rest we encourage you to consider for yourself.

who’s tweeting?

April 18, 2014


We’re past the halfway mark in National Poetry Month, exuding poems each day, no doubt. Caught up in the whirlwind of readings and writings, some news is late (but not too late) to capture our attention, including this: the good folks at MASHABLE have compiled a list of 38 “Gifted Poets” who are active on Twitter and worth following, if you care to tweet or be tweeted.

Susan Rich readsThis is a guest post by Susan Rich.

National Poetry Month means that schools, universities, art galleries, and bookshops are hosting poets, asking us to come read our work. And if you’ve ever attended a reading, you know that the experience can be profound or perilous, depending.

I’ve given a good deal of thought about what makes a good poetry listening experience. As someone who goes to poetry readings and also gives them, I like to try and figure out what makes me enjoy a reading.

Today I had the distinct pleasure of listening to the poet Oliver de la Paz read his work. He is a superb poet and a superb presenter of his own work. Here are a few things I learned from him this afternoon:

  1. Welcome your audience. Before Oliver began reading he talked for a little bit about what he would read and where he comes from. Since he was visiting at a college, he emphasized what it felt like to grow up in his hometown of Ontario, Oregon, and the trouble he’d fallen into as a boy to keep boredom at bay. Trouble? Boredom? He had these students completely ready to listen.
  2. Read a diverse selection of your work. Sometimes there are poems that we feel might be “too dark” for our audience; perhaps we don’t want anyone to feel down on our behalf. But the truth is, people come to poetry readings wanting to feel, wanting to be moved. Don’t be afraid to read your intense poems but you can also offer something light, something loving as well.
  3. Tell stories between your poems; give places for the audience to pause. This is something I often need to be reminded of because for many people new to poetry — or new to a particular poet — the story is the gateway to the poem. I’ve seen superb poets skip this step to the detriment of their own work and I’ve seen “ok” poets with a brilliant set-up keep their audience fully engaged.
  4. Mix it up! This week I’m reading at two different venues with two different friends. Instead of the one-poet-then-another routine, we are going to try something new. Perhaps we will each read a poem with the word “blue” in it or we will both read a love poem, or a break-up poem. The idea is that we will integrate the poems and make a sort of “living anthology” so that the experience created will be new and fresh. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  5. Always, always, enjoy yourself! I try to arrange for a dinner with a friend or an after party whenever I read so that I know there will be something to look forward to besides the reading. I enjoy readings but it is an intense experience and I am most happy afterwards when I can chat with people. Knowing that good food is involved makes me feel I’m singing for my supper.

After my book launch at Open Books in Seattle, I wrote a Top 10 List of things to think about when you launch a book. These tips will work for any reading at all — book or not. You can read more at The Alchemist’s Kitchen.
. . . . .
Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Cloud Pharmacy and The Alchemist’s Kitchen, which was a Finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award. She is the recipient of awards from Artist’s Trust, The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Individual poems appear in the Antioch Review, New England Review, Poetry Ireland, and Prairie Schooner. Along with Brian Turner and Jared Hawkley, she is editor of the anthology, The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders, published by McSweeney’s and the Poetry Foundation. Susan runs The Alchemist’s Kitchen blog on travel and the creative life; she is also cofounder of Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women.
. . . . .
NOTE: This evening, Thursday, April 17, 2014, the Northwind Reading Series presents Susan Rich and Kelli Russell Agodon at the Northwind Arts Center in Port Townsend.

tonight in Seattle!

September 18, 2013

Breadline Performance Series - Sept2013
The every-third-Wednesday Breadline Performance Series features “meaningful dialogue between poets, prose writers, musicians, and visual/video artists” from 7-10pm at the Vermillion art gallery / wine bar on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Tonight’s headliners: Ed Skoog, Kary Wayson, Oliver de la Paz and Wilson Shook on saxophone. Sounds good. Good sounds.

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