See poets! Hear poets!

February 10, 2019

photography by Dean Davis

In April 2018, at the wonderful Inland Poetry Prowl in Ellensburg, Washington, the photographer Dean Davis quietly set up shop and proceeded to photograph and record many of the poets in attendance. Now you can see the results of this ambitious, unheralded, and unpaid project at Pictures of Poets. Click on ALL POETS and you will see many familiar faces. Mouse over the photos to see the poets’ names. Click on a poet’s photo and you will be taken to a page with a short bio and Davis’s recording of the poet.

A selection of 12 large-scale prints from this collection will be exhibited at the Burgin Center for the Arts in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, from March 21 through April 14, 2019, and selection of 25 of them will be exhibited at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane, Washington, in fall 2019, dates TBA.

Dickinson, sung

May 30, 2018

A Certain Slant of Light, a new recording by soprano Lisa Delan, features musical settings of Emily Dickinson poems by four American composers: Aaron Copland, Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie and Michael Tilson Thomas. Delan says:

Emily Dickinson has been a presence in my life from the age of 11, when my Uncle Dan gave me the Johnson edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, newly reprinted that year (1976). Without being aware of her poetry’s innate connection to music, I began setting Emily’s verses, creating simple tunes I sang while accompanying myself on guitar. Emily invited me into the world of poetry and inspired my enduring passion for singing the words of the great poets.

Delan also worked with composer Gordon Getty and pianist Fritz Steinegger on The White Election: A Cycle of 32 Songs for Soprano and Piano, On Poems by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

Learn more on Lisa Delan’s website and listen to samples of A Certain Slant of Light on iTunes or Pentatone.

Lucas Smiraldo photo by Jesse Michener

Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo has partnered with the City of Tacoma and The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation to launch the Laureate Listening Project, an interactive audio anthology website where recorded oral poetry from regional poets will be mapped to provide a permanent record of the lives, ideas, concerns, and celebrations of a diverse community through the vehicle of poetry.

Smiraldo will work with various nonprofit and cultural organizations to encourage people from of all backgrounds to share their poetry about places and spaces in Tacoma and around the world. Audio recordings of these poems, centered on the “spirit of place” theme, will be edited and placed on a Google map website so users can search by a particular poet or location and listen to work inspired by the site. Some recordings will be accompanied by soundscapes and music created by composers and sound artists.

Individuals who are interested in sharing their short spoken works can contact Smiraldo at for further information and to schedule a recording session.

Smiraldo is also leading a team of poets as an artist in residence for the Race and Pedagogy National Conference at the University of Puget Sound, September 25-27, 2014. Poets and other artists will function as creative journalists to document ideas, challenges and solutions to address the topic of education in a dynamic and changing America. He plans to include audio pieces collected from conference participants in the Laureate Listening Project.

Funding for the Laureate Listening Project is made possible by a Spark Grant from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Mapping capability is made possible by the City of Tacoma.

If you’re interested in poetry mapping, have a look at The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology.
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photo of Lucas Smiraldo by Jesse Michener

Recording-Equipment-c-Michelle-AldredgeHave you been thinking about recording some poetry, other writing or anything else, for that matter? Jack Straw Audio Workshops are the perfect opportunity to jump-start that recording project, to refine your digital editing skills or to get a hands-on introduction to the world of audio recording and editing.

This series of workshops at Jack Straw Productions in Seattle will be taught by Tom Stiles and includes:

  • Microphone Workshop, Thursday, May 16, 2013, 6-10pm
  • Basic Field Recording, Saturday, May 18, 9am-5pm
  • Intro to Digital Audio Editing with Audacity and GarageBand, Wednesday, May 22, 6-10pm
  • Beginning ProTools, Wednesday-Friday, June 5-7, 6-9pm

Registration is now open. Learn more about Jack Straw Audio Workshops.
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recording equipment photo © Michelle Aldredge