Humble Beginnings

September 14, 2022

Town Hall Seattle invites you to “the first chapter of something big: an annual Writers Festival that pays tribute to everything we love about the written word.”

Volume I: Humble Beginnings happens Friday and Saturday, September 16 and 17, 2022, at Town Hall’s historic building, 1119 8th Avenue. There will be readings, books for sale, book signings, a community area featuring local literary organizations, plus food, and lots more. Seattle’s Civic Poet Jourdan Imani Keith will offer the opening invocation on Friday evening. Tickets are available for both in-person and virtual attendance.

Lyric World

March 5, 2020

This is a guest post by Shin Yu Pai.

The Lyric World poetry series launched in January at Town Hall Seattle and brings together contemporary poets to talk about the social role of poetry. In our first installment, we hosted Thomas Hitoshi Pruiskma, who reflected on the role of wonder in poetry, while performing a magic trick or two for our live audience. Ibrahim Arsalan, who is griot-trained jeli, performed music on the African kora.

I created the series as an extension of my previous work with Town Hall as an artist-in-residence for that organization, where I had a chance to curate programming that focused on poetry and the sacred in the everyday with Peter Levitt, poetry and place with writer Kathleen Alcalá, plus a program on creativity as it has innovated activism in the work of documentary poet Kaia Sand, public artist Susan Robb, and architect Rex Hohlbein of The Block Project.

My current work is committed to highlighting underrepresented voices who have not previously shared their work with Town Hall audiences. Our inaugural season highlights voices from the Asian-American diaspora. Looking around at other series in Seattle, I was aware of local event series that elevate the work of Indigenous and Black poets but didn’t see anyone producing programming on an ongoing basis related to Asian-American poets and our work.

On Thursday, March 19, 2020*, we’ll host the poet Koon Woon, who will speak on poetry and displacement and how poetry can create a sense of belonging where the notion of home has been complicated. In June, we’ll be back with a program with Prageeta Sharma, an author with Seattle-based press Wave Books. Our programs are distributed through KUOW Speaker’s Forum and you can listen to the first installment of Lyric World here.

If you’d like to support this program, please consider making a donation here. We are supported by The Windrose Fund, Poets & Writers, and Office of Arts & Culture for The City of Seattle.

To learn more about Lyric World, here is some press the series has garnered:

Seattle Review of Books
South Seattle Emerald
Northwest Asian Weekly
Cascadia Magazine

*IMPORTANT NOTE: Town Hall has suspended in-person attendance at programs scheduled through March 31, 2020. The program will be rescheduled once normal activities resume.

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Shin Yu Pai is a poet, cross-media artist, and curator for the collaborative global exploration project Atlas Obscura. Her poetic origins inform an artistic style that has grown beyond the written word — manifesting in photography, installation and public art, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and sound. She was the fourth poet laureate of the City of Redmond.

Thomas Pruiksma photo: Eric Frommer
Shin Yu Pai photo: James McDaniel

Tuesday at Town Hall

October 12, 2015

Austin Kleon blackout poem

Back in 2005, Austin Kleon started blogging images of his blackout (aka erasure) poetry. In 2010, he published a book called Newspaper Blackout, which probably had a lot to do with the surge in popularity of that venerable variety of found poetry.

He seems to have gone on to other things — in particular, writing how-to books about creativity — and it’s unclear whether he’s still doing his blackout work (though he recently made a how-to video). At any rate, if his work interests you, you can hear Austin Kleon presenting A Guide to Thinking Creatively, tomorrow, Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at 7:30pm, downstairs at Town Hall, Seattle. Doors open at 6:30pm and there’s a $5 admission.

Kleon will also appear at Powell’s (Burnside) in Portland on Wednesday, October 14.
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image by Austin Kleon

go hear ’em!

April 9, 2014

Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam

This Friday, April 11, 2014, at Town Hall, Arts Corps presents the annual Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam. Twelve finalists will perform original works of love, loss, resistance and survival — and five will be selected to represent Seattle at the 2014 International Brave New Voices Festival in Philadelphia. More on Youth Speaks Seattle on Facebook. Go cheer for these young poets!

Paul MuldoonPaul Muldoon’s credits are extensive and diverse. The author of more than thirty books of poetry, he has written opera libretti, co-wrote “My Ride’s Here” with Warren Zevon (recorded by Zevon and later by Bruce Springsteen), penned essays and criticism, written children’s stories, edited and translated books, and served as a radio and television producer for BBC, Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford and Poetry Editor of The New Yorker. He won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, plays guitar and writes lyrics for Wayside Shrines and is Howard G. B. Clark ’21 Professor at Princeton University.

You can hear Paul Muldoon online, or, better yet, go hear him in person at Town Hall in Seattle on Thursday, February 28, 2013, 7:30pm.
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Photo by Pieter M. van Hattem

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