Friday on Vashon!

June 6, 2019

Working at the intersections of arts, law, education, and community organizing, Nikkita Oliver strives to create experiences which draw us closer to our humanity. Her work asks us to engage with what we see happening now and to imagine what we hope to see in the future. As a poet, musician and teaching artist, she hopes to cultivate spaces where young people can explore their creative gifts and discover their personal power to build the world they most need to see. Nikkita is also a case manager for Creative Justice, an arts program aimed at transforming the criminal legal system and at providing space for young people to be self-empowered and self-determined. She is also the co-creator with Nikki Etienne and Dj Rise of the RingSide, a monthly poetry slam and artist showcase.

She has opened for Cornel West and Chuck D of Public Enemy, performed on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, and has been featured on The Breakfast Club and KUOW’s The Week in Review. Her writing and poetry have been published in The Moss, South Seattle Emerald, Crosscut, the Establishment, Last Real Indians, The Seattle Weekly, and The Stranger. She organizes with No New Youth Jail, the Seattle Peoples Party, THRIVE, and the Black Organizing Collective. Nikkita was the first political candidate of the Seattle Peoples Party to run for Mayor of Seattle, in 2017.

Nikkita Oliver will perform at the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall on Vashon Island on Friday, June 7, 2019, as part of the Vashon Island First Friday Gallery Cruise, including work from her newly released book, Pebbles In My Shoes. Get your tickets.

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Sunday on Vashon

May 18, 2019

The public is invited to participate in an open house at Mukai Farm & Garden on Vashon Island to honor The Day of Exile, May 16, 1942, the day Japanese American residents of Vashon Island were forced under armed escort to leave their homes.

The program will include the installation and unveiling of artwork created by Lawrence Matsuda and Roger Shimomura. Larry Matsuda will read his poetry and share a short documentary of the Minedoka internment camp.

Join the Friends of Mukai for the Day of Exile Commemoration and Art Installation tomorrow, Sunday, May 19, 2019. The house opens at 1:00pm and the program starts at 2:00pm. More information on the Mukai Farm & Garden site and on Facebook.

On Thursday, March 27, 2019, the Vashon Bookshop will host an evening of poetry on the subject of Poetry and Democracy, in keeping with national programming presented by the Poetry Coalition. The reading begins at 6:00pm with a number of featured poets, followed by an open mic.

hurry, poets

December 19, 2017

Add your poems of joy, resolution, dire warnings, laments, or songs of praise to the Vashon Poetry Post in the Village Green to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Thursday, December 21, 2017. If you’re on Vashon Island, post your own. Otherwise, email your poem to Ann Spiers – spiers [at] centurytel.net – to add to the season’s much-needed cloak of poems.

island poetry

May 3, 2017

The bi-annual Vashon Poetry Festival is coming up Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13, 2017. In addition to the poets spending two days in the local schools, events include a Community Poetry Reading Open Mic with Washington Poet Laureate Tod Marshall and Seattle Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna; a variety of morning and afternoon poetry writing workshops; plus a festival-closing Big Night. See the schedule of events for details and follow the latest updates on Facebook.

hearing from Hedgebrook

January 30, 2017

HedgebrookFor more than a century, U.S. writers and artists have nurtured their creative impulses at retreat centers around the country. From Thornton Wilder and Aaron Copland to Louise Erdrich and Michael Chabon, literary and artistic figures have benefited from the freedom and creative space offered by colonies and retreat centers.

In 1985, Hedgebrook was established on a Whidbey Island farm by Seattle philanthropist Nancy Nordhoff. The retreat center would be a place for women to come and be in solitude and community. Nancy’s vision has evolved into a global community of writers enriched by diversity: of culture, nationality, voice, genre, generation, perspective, religious beliefs and political affiliations. Nearly two thirds of Hedgebrook’s alumnae are women of color, and they come from all over the world, and all walks of life. They are emerging and published, ranging in age from 18-85, and writing in all genres.

On February 5, 2017, Hedgebrook founder, Nancy Nordhoff, and dynamic executive director, Amy Wheeler, will tell the Hedgebrook story firsthand at Vashon Center for the Arts as part of its Arts & Humanities series. For ticket information and additional details, visit Vashon Center for the Arts.

get posted…on Vashon

September 13, 2016

Vashon poetry post

We heard that there is a poetry post on Vashon Island, so to find out more we went to the source: Ann Spiers, Vashon’s inaugural Poet Laureate. Here’s what she told us:

The Poetry Post, a cedar pole, stands in Vashon town’s Village Green. The post is modeled after Yakima’s Poetry Pole, stewarded by Jim Bodeen of Blue Begonia Press.

The Vashon Post was erected in 2006. Ann Spiers and Zack Krieger led the effort. Loren Sinner Cedar donated the 10-foot clear cedar post. Vashon Parks and the Village Green stewards granted permission for its planting in public space. Bill Ferris’s Raven’s Isle Woodworks carved the letters. Bill Mann drove his tractor carrying the post and augured the hole. The late poet Paul Motoyoshi offered a tea ceremony as a blessing for the Post in the gloaming at the moment of the Winter Solstice 2006.

Once the Post was in place, it was just a matter of adding poems. Some people post their own, others send them to Ann for posting. Some of the poems are recent originals, others are old favorites, and the posted poems are periodically collected and archived. Ann says, “To attract readers I ‘decorate’ the post on farmers market Saturdays and holidays with swaths of seasonal flora, like grasses, apple branches, salal and currant berries, tansy and roadside pea flowers, and dahlia and spring blossoms.”

Sometimes, “the Post is used as a destination, such as a memorial walk. Island poetry events are posted. At times, groups have stewarded the post in my stead, school groups, writing groups.” And the Post is gathering its own set of stories. The post is planted four feet deep with six feet above ground, but once, “someone tried to pull out the post using a chain around its base. The post stood. In yellow jacket years, the bees will mine the paper the poems are printed on, making a filigree of the text.”

If you’re willing to subject your poetry — or your favorites — to public scrutiny, weather and yellow jackets, Ann welcomes poems from all over. You don’t have to be an Islander. Pin up your own or send them in an email to Ann Spiers at spiers@centurytel.net.

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