The SpeakEasy poetry series is honored to feature Rena Priest, the new Washington State Poet Laureate, at SpeakEasy 28: Homecoming. Presented on Zoom on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific, the reading will also include Rena’s poet/mentors James Bertolino, Anita K. Boyle, Nancy Pagh, and Jeanne Yeasting. For a Zoom link, please send an email to othermindpress AT gmail.com.

SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread engaged five poets in what turned out to be a nine-month poetic conversation. The resulting series of linked poems was presented in five Zoom readings.

To complete SpeakEasy 27, audience members were invited to submit their own poems inspired by and directly linked to specific ideas or language in the 25-poem series. Round 6, on Sunday, March 28, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific, will feature response poems by Sarah Brownsberger, Lauren Camp, Nancy Canyon, Bev Darnall, J.I. Kleinberg, Eric Kosarot, Rachel Mehl, Peter Messinger, Jory Mickelson, Don Mitchell, Kevin Murphy, Bethany Reid, Sheila Rosen, Paul Sarvasy, Betty Scott, Carla Shafer, Sheila Sondik, Allie Spikes, and Nik Warren.

Additional information and video of the previous readings is available on the Other Mind Press SpeakEasy 27 page. The reading is free on Zoom (Zoom link available from the participating poets or by sending an email to othermindpress AT gmail.com). Please join us!

The poets (Dayna Patterson, Jennifer Bullis, Bruce Beasley, Luther Allen, and Susan Alexander) will continue their poetic musings in Round 4 of SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread on Saturday, February 6, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific.

By this point in the linked series, spirit and virus are inextricably entwined. The intimacy of breath and the magnitude of the imponderable are stitched together. The poems reach back not only to the immediately preceding poem, but also to the entire collection, now some six months in the making.

The reading is free on Zoom with a password, available by sending an email to othermindpress AT gmail.com. See the poets’ bios and links to videos of the previous three readings on the SpeakEasy 27 page.

Please tune in to SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread for the third round (of five) on Saturday, January 16, 2021, 7:00pm Pacific, as poets Susan Alexander, Luther Allen, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Bullis, and Dayna Patterson read and comment on their poems from this linked series of writings on spirituality.

Series info, poet bios, videos of previous rounds, and sign-in information are available on the SpeakEasy 27 page and on Facebook. Free on Zoom with password.

The final two rounds of the series are scheduled for Saturday, February 6, and Saturday, February 27, 2021.

Round 2, this Saturday

December 7, 2020

After a warming response to Round 1, SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread will offer Round 2 of this linked-poem series on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at 7:00pm Pacific. As with Round 1, Susan Alexander, Luther Allen, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Bullis, and Dayna Patterson will each read one poem linked to the previous poem (or poems), discuss the linkage, and whatever else is on their mind. At the end of the reading there will be further discussion and questions from listeners.

The poets’ bios and a video link to Round 1 are available on the SpeakEasy 27 page (video link is at the very bottom).

Request a Zoom link for Round 2 by sending a note to othermindpress@gmail.com.

Mapping Literary Utah

November 9, 2020

We’ve mentioned various poetry-mapping projects, including Washington Poetry Routes, and here’s another worthwhile addition to the list: Mapping Literary Utah. Created by Paisley Rekdal, Utah’s fifth poet laureate, the archive includes poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction by hundreds of native-born Utahns, current residents, and writers who spent a significant period of their creative life in the state.

Among the writers is Dayna Patterson, who will be teaching a two-hour poetry workshop, “Exploring the Feminine Divine,” this Saturday, November 14, 2020, and will also be one of five featured poets the same evening for SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread.

In November 2019, Luther Allen invited four poets to join him in creating a series of linked poems on a spiritual theme for the next SpeakEasy. No one could have imagined either the scope of the project or the many challenges 2020 would set in the way.

The idea is quite simple: one person writes a poem; the second person writes a poem in response; the third person writes a poem in response to poem 2, etc. It had been a very successful approach in 2014, when SpeakEasy 14: String Theory presented un-themed linked poems by five poets.

In his invitation, Luther suggested that each poet would have about a week to respond to the poem they had received, and that SpeakEasy 27 would probably happen in April or May. All of the invited poets — Susan Alexander, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Bullis, and Dayna Patterson — accepted the invitation and the writing commenced.

By the end of the first round of five poems, the word pandemic had surfaced. It soon became apparent that schedules could not be imposed on the shape, content, or duration of these poems. Nine months and 60 pages of poetry later, SpeakEasy 27: A Spiritual Thread stands as a poetic testament to a year quite unlike any other.

Over the coming months, the poets will read and comment on their poems in a series of free readings on Zoom. The first reading will be on Saturday, November 14, 2020, at 7:00pm Pacific. To participate, send an email to othermindpress@gmail.com. You will receive sign-in information by email.

celebrating Bertolino

October 4, 2019

TODAY, October 4, is Jim Bertolino’s birthday.

TOMORROW, October 5, 2019, you can help Jim celebrate at SpeakEasy 26: Reading Bertolino, an evening of poetry honoring this prolific and influential poet. It’s free, in Bellingham, at the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room. Please join us!

Reading Bertolino

September 23, 2019

SpeakEasy 26: Reading Bertolino will be a lively evening of poetry written by James Bertolino and honoring this prolific and influential poet.

Jim’s poetry has been published internationally in hundreds of magazines, scores of anthologies, and dozens of books over the past 50+ years. He holds an MFA from Cornell University, has won numerous awards, and taught creative writing for more than 36 years. Jim’s first book was published in 1968, and his recent publications include Ravenous Bliss: New and Selected Love Poems (MoonPath Press, 2014) and Last Call: The Anthology of Beer, Wine & Spirits Poetry (World Enough Writers, 2018), which he edited. Bertolino’s poem “A Wedding Toast” was featured on Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, American Life in Poetry, on June 29, 2019.

This free, public event will be held at the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room in Bellingham, Washington on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 7:00pm. Please join us.

this very afternoon!

July 20, 2019

Just a quick reminder about SpeakEasy 25: Pig Tales, A Passel of Poetry, this afternoon, Saturday, July 20, 2019, at 4:00pm at Alluvial Farms, 6825 Goodwin Road, Everson (allow about 30 minutes from downtown Bellingham). Guest poets David Lee and Paul Hunter will regale us with pig tales. Free! Bring a chair. Bring sun protection. Bring a cooler if you’re interested in pastured pork. See you there!

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