The University of Washington has announced that Charles Simic will give the 2018 Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Reading on April 12.

The annual reading honors the acclaimed poet who from 1947 to 1963 was a professor in the UW English Department. Roethke taught a generation of post-war poets, including David Wagoner, Richard Hugo, Tess Gallagher and James Wright.

Simic, a poet and essayist, was born in Yugoslavia in 1938, immigrated to the United States in 1954 and published his first poem at 21 in 1959. Since 1967 he has published 20 books of his own poetry, including “New and Selected Poems (1962-2012)” (2013) and “The Lunatic” (2015). He has also published seven books of essays, a memoir and many volumes of translations of Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian poetry.

He is the recipient of many prizes and awards, most notably the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for his collection “The World Doesn’t End,” and was a finalist for the prize in 1986 and 1987. He has also received the Griffin Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship and the Wallace Stevens Award, all prestigious honors for poets. He served in 2007-2008 as the Poet Laureate of the United States. He is a professor emeritus of English at the University of New Hampshire, where he has taught since 1973.

The reading, which is free, will be at 7:00pm on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at the University of Washington in room 120 of Kane Hall. A reception will follow.


good news

January 23, 2018

Terrific news for Hugo House, which has received a Building for the Arts grant of $1.032 million from Washington state — a significant portion of the funds needed to purchase the new space and turn it into a home for writers.

Thank you to everyone who contacted their legislators and advocated to secure this funding, which will not only fund our new home but also supports many other arts and cultural organizations across the state. Everything we’re most proud of in our city has been realized because of community action, and that includes Hugo House. And thank you to our legislators for investing in the cultural vitality of Seattle.

Seattle needs writers and writers need Hugo House. With UNESCO’s recent designation of Seattle as a City of Literature, it’s fitting that our city will have a new literary destination — a place where people can come any night of the week to hear readers, get feedback on works-in-progress, exchange ideas, and come together over a shared belief in careful attention to language.

Learn more about Hugo House and its tremendous selection of writing programs and events.

Passing of the Laurel

January 18, 2018

Washington State has been exceedingly fortunate in our Poets Laureate. Sam Green (2007–2009), Kathleen Flenniken (2012–2014), Elizabeth Austen (2014-2016), and Tod Marshall (2016-2018) have been generous advocates for poetry, tirelessly traveling back and forth across the state to bring the experience of poetry into our lives. They have supported local poetry at every level, and have challenged us to become finer writers and listeners.

They have set a high bar. And now, the laurel will be passed to another accomplished and energetic poet, Claudia Castro Luna, who will serve as Washington State Poet Laureate 2018-2020. On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, the official Passing of the Laurel will be held at the Seattle Public Library, Central Library, and will feature readings by Marshall, Castro Luna, former poets laureate and other Pacific Northwest poets. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7:00 p.m.

Show your support for this valuable program and our wonderful poets laureate. The event is free.

The poet laureate is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA, with the support of Gov. Jay Inslee. The position is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities Washington.


here they come!

January 3, 2018

Get ready. The Nasty Women Poets are headed your way. Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press) is a timely collection of poems that speaks not just to the current political climate and the man who is responsible for its title, but to the stereotypes and expectations women have faced dating back to Eve, and to the long history of women resisting those limitations.

In BELLINGHAM, four of these nasty women — Bellingham poets Jennifer Bullis, Susan J. Erickson, and Jessica Lee, and Seattle poet Carolyne Wright — will present a lively array of poems from Nasty Women Poets at Village Books in Fairhaven on Sunday, January 14, 2018, at 4:00pm.

In SEATTLE, contributors Kelli Russell Agodon, Jennifer Bullis, Susan J. Erickson, Susan Rich, Martha Silano, Judith Skillman, and Carolyne Wright will share some nastiness at Open Books on Friday, February 2, 2018, at 7:00pm.

In REDMOND, poets Jennifer Bullis, Martha Silano, Judith Skillman, and Carolyne Wright will be featured at SoulFood Poetry Night on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at 7:00pm.

The nasty women poets included here talk back to the men who created those limitations, honor foremothers who offered models of resistance and survival, rewrite myths, celebrate their own sexuality and bodies, and the girlhoods they survived. They sing, swear, swagger, and celebrate, and stake claim to life and art on their own terms.

The anthology, edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane, includes work from Kim Addonizio, Jan Beatty, Kelly Cherry, Annie Finch, Alice Friman, Allison Joseph, Marilyn Kallet, Melissa Kwasny, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Jessica Mehta, Lesléa Newman, Nuala O’Connor, Alicia Suskin Ostriker, Melinda Palacio, Jennifer Perrine, Marge Piercy, Lucinda Roy, Maureen Seaton, Rochelle Spencer, A.E. Stallings, Stacey Waite, Diane Wakoski, Müesser Yeniay, and a fabulous coven of other women’s voices.

Other readings are scheduled nationwide (there are nasty women everywhere!) including Baltimore, Cambridge, Kalamazoo, San Francisco, and elsewhere. Watch for them — better yet, ask for them — at a bookstore near you.


a new reading in town…

December 17, 2017

Wondering what to do on the first Monday of the month? Ponder no longer. SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) has partnered with Easy Speak Seattle to launch a first-Monday reading series at Jude’s Old Town in Rainier Beach, Seattle.

The new series rounds out a month of Mondays for Easy Speak, including

  • Second Monday open mike & featured reader or musician at Wedgwood Ale House & Cafe
  • Third Monday Re/Write (critique group) at Third Place Books, Seward Park
  • Fourth Monday open mike & featured reader or musician at Wedgwood Ale House & Cafe

See the list of upcoming featured artists on the Easy Speak site.


winter writing

December 9, 2017

The Hugo House Winter 2018 Writing Classes catalog is now available online and early-bird registration continues through December 11 (save $10 off one-session classes, $20 off classes that are two to six sessions, and $35 off classes that are eight sessions or more). Click to see the Class Catalog, and while you’re in the neighborhood, have a look at the listing of Events in store at Hugo House.


poetry floats!

November 17, 2017

Here’s yet another entry into what seems to be the busiest poetry day of the season: FisherPoets on Lake Union. Rich Bard, Jon Broderick, Pat Dixon, Mary Garvey, Sierra Golden, Tom Hilton, Peter Munro, Dano Quinn, Rob Seitz, and Mariah Warren will offer stories, poems, and songs of the sea in the classic salon of the steamer Virginia V.

Program starts 7:30pm on Saturday, November 18, 2017, $5 suggested donation. The Virginia V berths on the south shore of Lake Union, just behind MOHAI and the historic Carroll’s Jewelers clock.

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