Mark your calendar for the first Sunday of the month at 5:00pm, as a series of summer sidewalk readings present the voices of Bellingham poets. If you show up at 1507 Larrabee, in Fairhaven, look for the book box and that’s where the the readings will be held.

June 3 ~ Shannon P. Laws
July 1 ~ Donna Rushing
August 5 ~ Jim Bertolino & Anita K. Boyle
September 2 ~ Nancy Canyon

See you there!

Perhaps you’ve noticed the Poem Booth on the west side of the Community Food Co-op, next to the community board on Forest Street in downtown Bellingham. Coordinated by Christen Mattix, Summer Starr, and Shannon Laws, the Poem Booth features a poem by a Whatcom County poet. The contest for the next poet is now open.

Here’s the Call for Submissions.
Residents of Whatcom County are invited to submit a poem for display in the POEM BOOTH. The winning poem will be framed and displayed in the booth for three months, from December 1, 2017, to February 28, 2018, and the recipient will receive $25 cash and a $25 gift certificate to the Community Food Co-op.

Poem Submission Guidelines
(Only poems submitted according to these guidelines will be considered.)
Deadline: November 18, 2017, by midnight

  • Submit poems to
  • Format: one page maximum per poem, 12 point font, sent as a Word, PDF or Note attachment via email
  • Do not write your name or other recognizable information on your attached poem!
  • Do not submit your poems to individual jury members.
  • No computer? Submit your typed poem with a title and no other identifying information plus a cover page with the title of the poem, your name, phone and email address. Mail to Poem Booth, c/o Christen Mattix, 1133 Railroad Ave. #218, Bellingham, WA 98225-5059.

The winning poem will be announced on December 1, 2017. Runner-up poems will be posted on the Poem Booth Bellingham blog.

Poem Booth update

August 26, 2017

Bellingham’s Poem Booth, located on the Forest Street side of the downtown Food Co-op, continues to offer fresh poems to go with your fresh produce. The winning poem is selected from submissions to a quarterly contest (some additional submissions are posted on the Poem Booth blog).

The June poem, “What Water Says” by Jim Bertolino, will soon be replaced by “Ode to a Flat Black River Stone” by Sheila Sondik. There will be an unveiling ceremony at 5:30pm on Friday, September 1, 2017. Please join Sheila Sondik and the Poem Booth team at this free event.

Submissions are now open for the next quarter’s poem.

poem booth!

November 15, 2016

poem booth

It doesn’t look like much right now, covered with layers of stickers, flyers, grafitti, and paint. But if ​Shannon P. Laws, Christen Mattix, and Summer Starr have their way (and achieve their very modest $300 Kickstarter goal), that sad old phone booth on the side of the Community Co-op in downtown Bellingham, Washington, will be transformed into a Poem Booth.

Once the booth is cleaned up, the team will select a poem each quarter from open submissions that begin in January 2017. The poem will be displayed in the booth, which is adjacent to a large bulletin board.

You can find out more on the Poem Booth website and support the Poem Booth on Kickstarter (the campaign continues until Saturday, December 24, 2016, 3:06pm PST).

Get Lit! Tonight!

November 22, 2015

Café Bouzingo

Tired of the same-old, same-old venues? Check out Bellingham’s hot new spot: Café Bouzingo. Opened in September in the transformed space of the much-loved Amadeus Project and styled after 19th-century Bohemian Paris, Café Bouzingo is a culture hub and hookah lounge serving up coffee, tea and shisha along with poetry, music, dance and art.

Get Lit! is Café Bouzingo’s weekly (Sundays) poetry open mic and feature show. Tonight (Sunday, November 22, 2015), the featured poet is Shannon P. Laws. She will be followed by live music and an open mic featuring your poems, short stories and spoken word (sign-ups start at 6:30pm, Shannon at 7:00pm). See you at Café Bouzingo: 1209 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham, Washington, USA.
. . . . .
photo: Aaron Brick Artography

Hear here!

June 2, 2015


Known as the gateway to the Arts District, the busy Bellingham, Washington, intersection at Holly and Bay Streets is enlived by sculpture (Sentinel by T. Ellen Sollod), a rocket and a mural (by Lanny Little), to say nothing of the nearby stores, museums and food/beverage establishments and plenty of foot traffic. What’s missing? Poetry!

But not for long. Poet Shannon P. Laws saw what was needed and reserved a spot for public poetry as part of the first-Friday-of-the-month Art Walk, June 5, 2015. Between 6:30 and 8:30pm, Poets’ Corner will feature local poets offering 10-minute readings for whatever audience gathers. Stop by. Listen. If the first Poets’ Corner is successful, others will follow.

See the lineup and learn more about Poets’ Corner on Facebook. Check out the other events scheduled for the June Art Walk.

Poetry Alive

Kevin Murphy and Matthew Brouwer are at it again, this time joined by poets Shannon Laws, Joe Nolting and CJ Prince. Poetry Alive IV (or III, depending on where you look) promises “a night of poesy so mind-bendingly grand, so soul-shakingly shaking it may just inspire you to quit your day job and pursue a hermetic life of poetic penury…not that you should come with any expectations or anything…”

Proceeds benefit the Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project, which leads writing workshops with kids in the juvenile justice system. JJCWP affirms that all youth have a unique voice that deserves to be shared with the community and that helping teens to connect with the vitality of their imaginations can be a powerful means for self expression and personal growth.

Saturday, November 1, 2014, at 7:00pm in the Encore Room at the Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham. $10 suggested donation.

support your local poet

August 4, 2014

We’re always happy to hear of new books from local* poets. Here are a few recent (and very recent) titles. Follow the links for information on the books and their authors:

Anita K. Boyle - The DrenchedAnita K. Boyle
The Drenched
Egress Studio Press

Caitlin Thomson - Incident ReportsCaitlin Thomson
Incident Reports
Hyacinth Girl Press

C.J. Prince - Mother, May I?C.J. Prince
Mother, May I?

Shannon Laws - Odd Little ThingsShannon P. Laws
Odd Little Things
Chickadee Productions

Oliver de la Paz - Post SubjectOliver de la Paz
Post Subject: a Fable
The University of Akron Press

James Bertolino - Ravenous BlissJames Bertolino
Ravenous Bliss
MoonPath Press

*We use the word local not to regionalize the poetry or the poets’ reputations, but because these poets are our neighbors, co-residents in the upper left-hand corner of the U.S. The rest we encourage you to consider for yourself.

poetry reading!

July 17, 2013

Shannon P. Laws - Madrona Grove
Village Books in Bellingham welcomes Shannon P. Laws on Friday, July 19, 2013, at 7:00pm, as she reads from her debut collection, Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy.