watch this

August 12, 2021

Thanks to Book Riot for this mighty list of 12 of the Best Slam Poetry Performances to Leave You in Awe.

for your watch list

March 30, 2020

If you missed this documentary by Paul Devlin when it came out in 1998, you may want to add it to your watch list. SlamNation follows New York City’s novice Nuyorican Poetry Slam team (Saul Williams, Beau Sia, muMs da Schemer, Jessica Care Moore, Marc Smith, Taylor Mali, and more) on its journey to join over 120 spoken word artists on 27 city teams at the 1996 National Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Re-bar Seattle will host a Seattle Poetry Slam open mic (open to all poets), and the first Women of the World Poetry Slam Qualifier. The WOWPS competition is open to those who identify as women or gender non-binary. Poets must have three poems: 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 4 minutes, with a ten-second grace period. The 1st and 2nd place winners will move onto Women of the World Seattle Finals to compete against 8 other poets hoping to win the chance to represent Seattle Poetry Slam in 2019.

Write Riot returns!

April 17, 2018

It has been a while since we heard anything from Write Riot Slam, so we’re pleased to see that they’ll be stepping up to the mic in honor of National Poetry Month. This time around, Write Riot is teaming up with Village Books for an evening of slam poetry to be held on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, starting at 7:00pm, at the Colophon Café (adjoining Village Books). Read more about Write Riot in Jessica Lohafer’s 2015 guest post and watch the Facebook event page for more information.

a new home for poetry

April 9, 2018

The Sylvia Center for the Arts is the latest addition to the Bellingham, Washington, Arts District. It features multiple performance spaces, classrooms, and studios, all available to the local performing arts community. For National Poetry Month, the Sylvia Center stage will be enlivened with a night of dazzling stand-up poetry featuring Anis Mojgani, Cristin O’keefe Aptowicz, Buddy Wakefield, and Derrick Brown. Monday, April 30, 2018, 7:00pm. Tickets are $15 at eventbrite.

AltLib new home for poetry

February 20, 2018

Bellingham’s Alternative Library has moved around a few times, but it seems to have found a solid home base in an historic church near downtown and the Western campus at 519 E Maple Street. In addition to a robust lending library, it is a community space, hosting near-daily events, including concerts, film screenings, workshops, and readings.

And speaking of readings, check out the Radical Poets’ Showcase: Featuring ATL Slam on Friday, February 23, 2018, at 8:00pm. (Suggested $7 donation.)

Featured poets:

Nobody Likes Us But We’re Here Anyways
Nate Mask and Ryan J are Atlanta-based spoken word artists. They are tolerated in their local scene because their poems are somewhat entertaining, but nobody actually likes either of them. Their work touches on topics ranging from the struggle of deconstructing masculinity, learning to exist in a world that looks down on blackness, relationships, mental health, to driving in Atlanta traffic. Despite their differences in approach and personality, their dynamic as a team somehow works, as Ryan actually enjoys talking to people, and Nate always comes through in the clutch, and opens tough jars for Ryan.

Robert Lashley
A 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award, Robert Lashley has had poems published in Feminete, Seattle Review Of Books, NAILED, GRAMMA, and The Cascadia Review. His first full-length book, The Homeboy Songs, was published by Small Doggies press in 2014. His new book, Up South, was published in March 2017.

Dee Dee Chapman
Dee Dee Chapman received her BA in Creative Writing at Western Washington University in 2016. She has been published in The Noisy Water Review, Sweet Tree Review, and Wallpaper Magazine. In September 2014 she self-published her first chapbook, Colluvium, whose title poem received a 2017 Walk Award from the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. She’s the Editor of Nine Lives Later: a Dead Cat Anthology, released in November 2017.

new voice in Spokane

February 16, 2018

Poetry has a new voice in Spokane: Power 2 The Poetry. Power 2 The Poetry is a movement promoting freedom of expression, providing a platform to the under-represented in the community, including people of color, LGBTQ+, women, millennials, etc. Founded by Bethany Montgomery, AJ McKinney and Lynn’Marie White, Power 2 The Poetry seeks to raise awareness of social, cultural, and political issues, encouraging poets to address topics that make people uncomfortable.

“We initiate in-depth discussions engaging our audience in meaningful dialogue to inspire change. We express, expose, ignite.”

See the article in The Inlander, visit the Power 2 The Poetry website, like them on Facebook, and hear the Power at one of their upcoming events (February 20 at the Spokane Public Library, February 28 at Auntie’s Bookstore).

hear and be heard

January 8, 2017

Every Week

If you’re not getting your recommended daily allowance of poetry, here are some ongoing weekly events where you’ll hear powerful voices and where you can try out your own words on a receptive audience.

Mondays in Bellinghampoetrynight featured poet and open mic

Mondays in SeattleEasy Speak Seattle hosts a featured reader and open mic the 2nd and 4th Monday (okay, not weekly, but used to be)

Mondays in Vancouver, BCVancouver Poetry Slam (VanSlam) feature plus open mic at Café Deux Soleils; more on Facebook

Tuesdays in SeattleSeattle Poetry Slam presents a featured poet plus open mic and slam at Re-bar

Wednesdays in SeattleWrite Time Poetry, a weekly drop-in writing circle for teens at Hugo House (meets during the school year)

Wednesdays in SeattleRain City Slam: all-ages spoken word open mic, featured poet and poetry slam at Jai Thai on Broadway

Wednesdays in SpokaneBroken Mic featured poet plus open mic at Neato Burrito

Wednesdays in VaughnWatermark Writers’ Workshop – on the waterfront

Thursdays in EverettEverett Poetry Night: poetry and acoustic music at Café Zippy

Thursdays in Olympia – the Old Growth Poetry Collective presents the Olympia People’s Mic with featured reader and open mic – at Ben Moore’s Restaurant

Thursdays in Salem, ORThe Salem Poetry Project presents a featured reader followed by open mic – 7:00pm – at Barrel & Keg

Fridays in Victoria, BCPlanet Earth Poetry featured poets plus open mic – 7:30pm – at Hillside Coffee and Tea

P4: slam home

December 3, 2016

The Performance Poetry Preservation ProjectIf you’re interested in slam poetry, you should definitely keep an eye on The Performance Poetry Preservation Project (P4).

P4 is in the process of collecting audio, video, print, and other artifacts from the first 25 years of poetry slam, with the intention of creating an accessible library of slam history. “Our first goal is to convert the original material, where feasible, into digital files to protect the content from media degradation and obsolescence.”

The collection currently includes more than 570 media items with over 3,500 audio and video recordings of performances by over 1,100 poets. P4 is in the process of developing a long term partnership agreement with an academic repository, such as a college or university library for the perpetual storage and preservation of the archive. This is good.

Learn more at The Performance Poetry Preservation Project website or the P4 Facebook page.

Skagit River Poetry Festival 2016

It only happens every other year and it’s coming right up. So in case you haven’t put it on your schedule or purchased your tickets, here’s the full text of the recent press release for the Skagit River Poetry Festival, May 19-22, 2016, in La Conner, Washington:

This year brings a world of fresh, provocative voices to the Skagit River Poetry Festival, May 19-22 in the historic town of La Conner. The celebrated four-day event, with performances, readings, workshops, and discussions, features some of the most renowned and diverse names in poetry, including Pushcart Prize winner Naomi Shihab Nye, an Arab-American writer described as “international in scope and internal in focus.”

The festival opens with a literary bang on Thursday, May 19, when celebrated spoken word poets take the stage in a program called “Wake Up. Speak Out,” challenging and provoking audiences with new poetic ideas and forms. Participants include Jeanann Verlee, who has represented New York City ten times at the National Poetry Slam; Jamaal May, Detroit poet and filmmaker; Bangladeshi-American poet and spoken-word artist Tarfia Faizullah; Daemond Arrindell, curator of the Seattle Poetry Slam; and Seattle Grand Slam champion Matt Gano, emcee of this event. The popular Northwest band Rabbit Wilde will provide the musical stomp.

Over the next two days, the festival presents some of the most thoughtful voices in contemporary poetry, reflecting cultures from around the world. The lineup includes:

  • Natalie Diaz, a member of the Mojave and Pima Indian tribes, and former professional basketball player
  • Aimee Nezhukumatathil, who writes at the intersection of Filipino, Indian, and American cultures
  • Norman Fischer, Zen Buddhist priest and poet
  • Lorna Dee Cervantes, a major voice in contemporary Chicana literature
  • Garrett Hongo, celebrated Japanese-American poet

Top Northwest poets on the bill include Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellow Richard Kenney from Port Townsend; Canadian musician, philosopher, and award-winning poet Jan Zwicky; and Washington State’s new Poet Laureate, Tod Marshall, a professor at Gonzaga University dedicated to bringing humanities to underserved populations. “Poetry matters — not just to poets, professors, and students: poetry matters to everyone,” said Marshall.

Special events include a Thursday night Poet’s Soiree extravaganza preceding the “Wake Up. Speak Out” program. This mixer includes wine and delicious locally sourced hors d’oeuvres, along with the chance to meet the poets one-on-one.

Back this year are popular Sunday writing workshops with festival poets, including sessions on “Found Poetry,” “Poetry and Silence,” and “Invoking Magic” with Jeanann Verlee. Poet Tim McNulty leads a special three-hour session on nature writing that takes participants outdoors with their journals, and Kevin Craft, editor of Poetry Northwest, offers attendees tips on writing and getting published. New this year are individual consultations with festival poets. Writers can have a poem critiqued in a 20-minute session for $20.

Tickets to all festival events, including all-festival passes, are on sale at Brown Paper Tickets. You can also go to the Festival website for a direct link and description. Special discounts are available for students with ID and seniors over 65. Unless sold out, tickets will also be available at the door.

The biennial festival takes place in venues throughout La Conner, which is transformed by poetry for four days. “The festival turns La Conner into a town filled with poetry, from its churches to its museums, its community center, and its bed and breakfasts,” says poet Susan Rich. “Where else can a person sleep, eat, live, and breathe poetry for a spring weekend?”

The festival, one of the largest celebrations of poetry on the West Coast, is put on by the Skagit River Poetry Foundation, a non-profit organization that brings poets into school classrooms year-round to promote literacy, an appreciation of language, and youth participation in culturally diverse communities. All proceeds benefit the foundation’s mission to support lifelong literacy and cultural diversity through the writing, reading, performing, and teaching of poetry in Northwest Washington schools and communities.

For more information, visit the Festival website, email skagitpoetry@gmail.com, or call 360-399-1550.
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