2020 Merit Award
By Richard Widerkehr

written the week of the Douglas High School shootings; a bump stock lets a shooter fire dozens of rounds in seconds

Under this streetlight, a possum
lopes by brick houses, its gray-white muzzle
and needle nose low to the street.

Take action, said our rabbi.

Standing by my car,
I wonder who needs a bump stock
for self-defense.

Not right or wrong, needing no carry permit,
the possum skitters into an alley.

The empty street, the streetlight.

An alertness sends out tendrils,
almost part of the dark.

*Copyright 2020 by Richard Widerkehr. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Poetry Phone

April 17, 2021

Well, you still may not be able to drive into Canada for a poetry reading, but we’re happy to see that The Poetry Phone is now showcasing the work of local Vancouver, BC, writers. Give them a call, or visit the Downtown Vancouver website to learn more about the ten featured poets and listen online.

on poetry

April 16, 2021

“…prose is a public language and poetry is a private language….”
Mary Ruefle
(b. April 16, 1952)

. . . . .
photo
quote

PEN America announced the 2021 Literary Awards winners at the awards ceremony held April 8, 2021. Poetry has a prominent place this year, with top honors, The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award (“To a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.”), going to Ross Gay for Be Holding: A Poem (University of Pittsburgh Press).

The PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection (“To a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.”) went to Victoria Chang for Obit (Copper Canyon Press), and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (“For a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English.”) went to Steve Bradbury for his translation from the Chinese of the book by Amang, Raised by Wolves: Poems and Conversations (Phoneme Media).

For more about the poets, authors, translators, books, awards (including a video of the awards ceremony), and the work of PEN, visit the PEN Literary Awards page.

solstice, tomorrow

April 10, 2021

Congratulations to Carla Shafer, who conceived and edited a wonderful collection of poems of light, Solstice: Light & Dark of the Salish Sea (Chuckanut Sandstone Press). The collection features the work of 29 poets in two sections, Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice.

Tomorrow, Sunday, April 11, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific, Village Books will present a book launch reading from Solstice. See the list of poets in the collection and register for the online reading here.

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.

on poetry

March 26, 2021

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.”
Robert Frost
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)

. . . . .
photo
quoted in The New York Times (Nov. 7, 1955)

I Stop In The Woods*

March 21, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Betty Scott

To watch a parade of mallards
Paddle and quack in circles
Splashing ripples across the surface
Of their home, a muddy pond,

As sunlit Evergreens…beyond…
Stand guard, reflecting themselves
Beneath the pond of brown,
Crowns of pines, topside down,

Reaching deep into the mud below.
I see this with my third eye as guide
To the rift and ride of souls: bonds…
Of love intertwined with joy.

*Copyright 2020 by Betty Scott. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

on poetry

March 15, 2021

“The highest kind of writing — which must not be confused with the most ambitious kind — belongs to the realm of grace. Talent is part of it, certainly; a thorough understanding of the secret laws, absolutely. But finding the subject and theme which is in perfect harmony with your deepest nature, your forgotten selves, your hidden dreams, and the full unresonated essence of your life — now that cannot be reached through searching, nor can it be stumbled upon through ambition. That sort of serendipity comes upon you on a lucky day. It may emerge even out of misfortune or defeat. You may happen upon it without realising that this is the work through
which your whole life will sing. We should always be ready. We should always be humble. Creativity should always be a form of prayer.”
Ben Okri
(b. March 15, 1959)

– – – – –
photo
quote from A Way of Being Free


2020 Walk Award
By Kate Miller

I hold the dresser scarf you embroidered
with hands that once embraced me even
as they surrendered me. Roses, stained
blood on crisp white linen, green threads
vining around each flower, such delicate
beauty, this artifact of your life outliving
you even now, as do I, holding on to this
fabric, proof of your existence. I in your
womb once, you in my hands now, the
thorny connection of us pierced through.
First mother, you carry me back, I carry
you forward, faces wet with wanting,
this moment as close as we will ever get.

*Copyright 2020 by Kate Miller. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

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