Spend an evening at the lovely Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon as Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest offers a reading followed by a generative poetry workshop. The event, on Saturday, September 3, 2022, at 7:30pm, is entirely FREE, thanks to Humanities Washington, the Washington State Arts Commission, Skagit River Poetry Foundation, Skagit Land Trust, and Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group.

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photo by Calvin Miller (@cmjphotojournal)

LiTFUSE UNiTE 2022 Poetry Workshop is back and will be live and in person September 23-25. ​Enjoy the artistic and scenic surroundings of Tieton, Washington, as poets take over the little town for readings, workshops, craft talks, and master classes. Registration is open and master classes, this year with Kim Addonizio and Brook Matson, fill up fast.

LiTFUSE 2022!

May 22, 2022

Great news from Tieton, Washington, this week: the LiTFUSE faculty lineup for 2022 has been announced, PLUS a new monthly reading series and open mic, Fuel, has been added to LiTFUSE programming.

For LiTFUSE 2022, September 23-25, faculty will feature keynote poet, Kim Addonizio, featured guest, Washington State Poet Laureate, Rena Priest, and additional faculty Brooke Matson, Gabrielle Bates, Robert Lashley, Xavier Cavazos, Aileen Koewn Vaux, Matt Trease, Luther Hughes, Kathryn Hunt, Lyn Coffin, Mathias Svalina, Taneum Bambrick, and Gary Copeland Lilley.

Fuel happens every fourth Wednesday at 7:00pm at the Fueling Station in Tieton. On May 25, you can hear Raúl Sánchez reading from his new book, When There Were No Borders.

Keep an eye on the LiTFUSE website or Facebook page, or get your name on the mailing list for all the latest info.

salmon poetry

April 30, 2022

This is a guest post by Rena Priest.

Greetings Poets! Happy National Poetry Month!

As the month winds down and I head into my second year as Washington State Poet Laureate, I’m delighted to have this opportunity to share a few words with you. It has been a fantastic year full of new faces and reconnecting with old friends in the poetry community. I’ve shared poetry with many organizations, libraries, schools, and institutions, and I’ve written several new poems for special occasions. I have even collected a new manuscript!

Now I want to read your poems, specifically your salmon poems. Over the summer and early fall, I will be offering a traveling workshop called How to Catch a Salmon Poem. In this workshop, we’ll respond to a series of prompts to cultivate poems for a salmon-themed anthology. By the end of our time together, attendees will have a fresh catch of ideas to help them reel in new poems.

Why salmon? Salmon are the unsung heroes of our region. Adventurous and brave, they swim from their natal rivers out into the perils of the open ocean, where their bodies soak up the rich nutrients of the sea. Persistent, resilient, and strong, they swim upstream against swift currents for hundreds of miles to return home to spawn and complete the cycle of life. A keystone species, after spawning, they die and transfer all the marine-derived nutrients carried in their bodies to the animals, insects, soil, and plants in and around their natal stream.

Salmon are sacred to my tribe, the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. We celebrate them in ceremony and song, and they have long been central to our Sche’le’ngen, our way of life. By celebrating salmon through poetry in every corner of the state, I hope to raise goodwill and a feeling of reverence for the salmon, a feeling that my people have felt since time immemorial.

Seattle-based writer Timothy Egan writes, “The Pacific Northwest is simply this: wherever the salmon can get to.” Before dams were installed, salmon inhabited streams throughout Washington state, even as far inland as Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and beyond. They have been a massive part of our regional identity, and with many species struggling, it’s time to love them enough to save them.

Saving salmon and acknowledging our shared humanity through poetry is at the heart of my motivation to create an anthology celebrating our state’s salmon runs as well as our poets. I hope you will join us in one of these generative workshop offerings and be inspired to submit a poem or two about our iconic wild salmon of Washington state. I will be sharing workshop dates as they are set.

In the meantime, if you happen to have salmon poems in your repertoire, you can submit 1-3 poems via email to poet [AT] humanities.org. The open call deadline is June 1, 2022.

In your email, please affirm that

  • you currently live in Washington State
  • your poems are previously unpublished, or
  • your poems are published, but you retain the right to republish

If your poem is previously published

  • give the places and dates of all previous publications
  • affirm that you retain all rights to the work, and
  • include links to websites where available

If you’d like to have me offer a workshop in your community, you can send a message through my website (www.renapriest.com) and we can talk about scheduling a date. Stay tuned for more info! I look forward to reading your poems!!

Yours,
Rena Priest
Washington State Poet Laureate (2021-2023)

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Rena Priest is a poet and an enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She has been appointed to serve as the Washington State Poet Laureate from April 2021 to 2023. She is the 2022 Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writing Fellow, an Indigenous Nations Poets Fellow, a Jack Straw Writer (2019), and a Vadon Foundation Fellow. She is also the recipient of an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues, received an American Book Award, and her second collection, Sublime Subliminal, was published as the finalist for the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. Priest holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

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author photo by Savanna Estey
salmon photo from Salmon Need Water

readings, etc., soon

April 12, 2022

Denver poet, performer, and novelist Gregory SETH Harris is coming to Cascadia and you have a couple of opportunities to see and hear him.

On Friday, April 15, 2022, BookTree, in Kirkland, will present a live, in-person event (masked/vaxxed, please), beginning at 6:30pm with a 30-minute open mic (sign up between 6 and 6:30pm), followed by SETH Harris performing from his poetic memoir, A Black Odyssey, and from his award-winning satirical novel, The Perfect Stranger. After a short break, there will be an additional open mic until 8:25pm. Seating is very limited; email booktreekirkland1@gmail.com to make sure there is room for you.

On Saturday, April 23, Chuckanut Sandstone Writers presents a free in-person workshop and reading with SETH at St. James Presbyterian Church, 910 14th Street, in Bellingham. Seth’s Performance Poetry Workshop, “Read Like a Pro,” 1:00-3:00pm, will be followed at 4:00pm by a reading and open mic. (Details in graphic, above.) To sign up for the workshop, send an email (subject: SETH the Poet Workshop) to chuckanutsandstone@gmail.com.

On Saturday, January 29, 2022, 10:00am – Noon Pacific, Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest will offer an online (Zoom) workshop: Pulling Poems from the Ends of Our Pens.

Here’s Rena’s description of the workshop:

“Where do your poems come from?” This question is often asked in Q & A sessions and interviews. I think it’s a great question. Where do poems come from? We’ll have a discussion about where our poems come from and if you have a favorite poem you’ve written, I invite you to bring it along and share it, along with a few words about your process. People will also often ask “How do you start a poem?” In this workshop we’ll begin by sharing our strategies for getting started, and we’ll respond to a series of prompts. By the end of our time together you’ll have a fresh set of ideas on which to build new poems.

Rena Priest is a Poet and an enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She has been appointed to serve as the Washington State Poet Laureate for the term of April 2021-2023. She is a Vadon Foundation Fellow, and recipient of an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues, was published in 2017 by MoonPath Press and received an American Book Award. She is a National Geographic Explorer (2018-2020) and a Jack Straw Writer (2019). She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Registration is required and all fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest: $30 per workshop. Zoom links will be provided after registration.

TO REGISTER, please submit your payment of $30 via Venmo (www.venmo.com/SueC-BoyntonContest ) OR by check (made out to Sue C. Boynton Contest) mailed to PO Box 5442, Bellingham, WA 98227-5442. Please be sure to include your name, email, phone, and the title/date of the workshop(s) you wish to attend. If you have questions, please contact Jay, our workshop coordinator by email: jsnahani AT gmail.com.

See the full lineup of winter 2022 workshops on the Workshops page.

Teach a class at Hugo House

December 15, 2021

Have you been dreaming of a creative writing class you would like to teach? Hugo House in Seattle would like to hear about it. Class proposals for Summer 2022 are open through January 10, 2022. Details on the Hugo House Teacher’s Portal on Submittable.

And by the way, registration for Winter 2022 classes is now open. Browse the catalog for inspiration.

Mark your calendar and grab your mask: the Greater Gig Harbor Poetry Series starts this Saturday and will run for three consecutive Saturdays at 3:00pm, in-person at the Harbor History Museum. The featured poets are:

Saturday, October 9, 2021, Chris Jarmick
Saturday, October 16, 2021, Jennifer Preston Chuschoff
Saturday, October 23, 2021, Robert Lashley

On Sunday, November 7, 2021, 2:00-5:00pm, Christina Vega will lead a free, all-ages Poetry Collaboration workshop at Ocean5 in Gig Harbor. Space is limited and registration is required.

Find out more about the poets on the GGHPS website.

surreally!

September 17, 2021

Spend a day online with Kelli Russell Agodon and explore techniques and games used by surrealist writers and artists to create your own new poems. All proceeds from this class will benefit the Skagit River Poetry Foundation. Plus, a copy of Kelli’s new book, Dialogues with Rising Tides (Copper Canyon Press, 2021), is included in the registration.

The 5-hour workshop will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021. Get the details and register!

LiTFUSE time

September 11, 2021

When we posted about LiTFUSE back in April, it wasn’t certain whether the annual poetry gathering would happen in person or online. Now it’s certain and there’s still time to register and participate in this lively event.

LiTFUSE 2021 will be all virtual, September 24-26, with readings, craft talks, keynote addresses, and a variety of classes. (Note: it appears that the “opening act,” with Camille Dungy and Matthew Dickman, will happen the previous weekend, on Sunday, September 19, 2021.)

In addition, there is a free, pre-LiTFUSE event: Poets in Conversation on Friday, September 17, 4:00pm, featuring Ching-In Chen, Claudia Castro Luna, and Diana Khoi Nguyen.

Visit the LiTFUSE website for information on instructors, events, and registration.

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