Prize-winning author of sixteen novels, Laura Kalpakian will be the guest speaker for the Whatcom Writers and Publishers May dinner meeting, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Her topic: How to give a reading. The event, at Nicki’s Bella Marina, is free, but seating is limited and RSVPs are required. Find details on the WWP website.

If you can’t make it, you can see what Billy Collins has to say about “How to Read a Poem Out Loud” on the Library of Congress website.

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keeping your cool

August 2, 2016

microphone

We know some terrific poets who won’t read in front of an audience. Of course, they’re not alone. Along with spiders, heights, zombies and other scary stuff, public speaking ranks among our most common fears.

This article from Book Publishers Northwest isn’t new, but it has a few useful tips on taking control of the situation when you have to face the mic. As long as we’re on the subject, here are some open mic tips from Josephine Corcoran, here are a few from Writer’s Relief and a handful from Lauren Zuniga as well.

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now sounding

March 25, 2016

Moby Dick Big Read

It’s been several years since we mentioned Moby-Dick Big Read and it definitely seems worth a reminder. Out of a symposium convened in 2011 at Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University, UK, by artist Angela Cockayne and writer Philip Hoare was born an online version of Melville’s epic tome, each of the book’s 135 chapters read aloud by voices celebrated and unknown and broadcast online, public and freely accessible. With readers from Tilda Swinton to Mary Oliver, each chapter is accompanied by a piece of artwork.

Listen at Moby Dick Big Read, read along with your copy of the book, or, as you listen, look at Moby-Dick through the eyes of artist Matt Kish, whose book Moby-Dick in Pictures (Tin House 2011) offers an illustration for every page of the original book.

poetry in the air(port)

March 20, 2016

Heathrow-Passport-to-Poetry

A tip of the passport to Heathrow Airport, London, which will add poetry to air this Easter holiday (Easter is March 27). Anticipating a larger-than-usual crowd and lots of families, the airport teamed up with four children’s authors and poets to create and record poems about holidays and travel for “poetry points” in the airport terminals. As part of the initiative, children under the age of 16 are also invited to submit their own holiday-themed poem and there will be workshops conducted around the airport. Read the story on the Heathrow Airport website and follow the links to read and watch the poems.

epic!

December 9, 2015

Beowulf reading

Back by popular demand, it’s the 2nd Annual Beowulf Marathon! Join audience and readers at an open mic-style community reading of the ancient epic. Participants will take turns reading in 5-10 minute increments, from Grendel’s scourge of the Mead Hall to the battle with the dragon and the final funeral pyre.

Need to brush up on your Beowulf? See the modern English translation at the Poetry Foundation.

The reading is at Honey Moon Mead & Cider, in Bellingham, at 7:00pm on Saturday, December 12, 2015. It’s free and open to all ages. More information on the Facebook event page or on the Honey Moon website.

listen soon…

November 2, 2015

New Lyrical Ballads on BBC Radio 4

Companion to the juicy colors of autumn, the lush sounds of romantic poetry are available for your listening pleasure…but only through the month of November. BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting two programs — November 1 and November 7, 2015 — in which 26 of the “finest poets in the land” read new lyrical ballads inspired by the original Lyrical Ballads of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. The book, published in Bristol in 1798, is “renowned for its radical preface and considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature.”

Commissioned by the Bristol Festival of Ideas and introduced by the Festival’s director, Andrew Kelly, the poet/readers include Fleur Adcock, Patience Agbabi, John Burnside, Gillian Clarke, Paul Farley, David Harsent, Kathleen Jamie, Liz Lochhead, Ian McMillan, Andrew Motion, Sean O’Brien, Alice Oswald, Ruth Padel, Don Paterson, Jean Sprackland and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Find and enjoy Episode 1 on BBC Radio 4.

Listen

August 3, 2015

Badilisha Poetry ExchangeAs vast as the continent is, there has never before been a single online collection of Africa’s poetic voices. The Badilisha Poetry X-Change is correcting that omission, gathering the words and voices of, to date, more than 350 African poets from 24 countries. A radio-style audio archive, BPX provides an introduction and bio for each poet along with text and audio files of one or more of the poet’s work. Two new poets are featured each week.

Providing wider exposure for African poets benefits the poets themselves as well as local, regional and international audiences. The user-friendly, searchable Badilisha Poetry X-Change website explains, “of all the published books in the world, the works of African authors comprise only two percent.” With a growing collection (BPX accepts submissions), the website and podcasts, a Facebook page and an upcoming roadtrip, Badilisha Poetry X-Change hopes to bring wider attention to seldom-heard voices that contribute to the rich tapestry of poetry worldwide.

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