meanwhile on Vashon Island

August 20, 2021

Back in 2016, we introduced the Vashon Poetry Post in a conversation with Vashon Island’s inaugural poet laureate, Ann Spiers. The Poetry Post is still there, and so is Ann Spiers, who is busier than ever, though Sandra Noel has recently been appointed poet laureate.

In fact, Spiers has a brand-new, full-length book of poems, Rain Violent, published by Empty Bowl Press.

On a recent hot, smoky day, Elizabeth Shepherd sat in her battery-operated, air-conditioned Nissan Leaf to write this review of Spiers’s collection, which we happened upon in the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber.

It’s not the easiest time to launch a book, so we’re happy to see that Rain Violent is available through Empty Bowl and independent bookstores everywhere.

live on Vashon

July 20, 2021

Join Vashon Island poets and poetry fans live and in person at Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe on Friday, July 23, 2021, at 7:00pm, to welcome the new Vashon Island Poet Laureate, Sandra Noel. There will be readings, ceremony, and cake!

haiku on Vashon

June 10, 2020

If you’re willing to venture out and about, Vashon Island’s Mukai Farm & Garden is displaying the results of their first haiku contest through the month of June. The contest judges were Lawrence Matsuda, Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, and Michael Feinstein. Describing submissions as “an avalanche of creative haiku that spanned all age groups and several nations,” Mukai has put all of the entries on view at appropriate social distances. You can also view them online.

Here’s information about the Vashon ferry and social distancing aboard.

be cool on Vashon

January 23, 2020

The Black Cat Cabaret (at Snapdragon) will host 3 x 3 x 3 on Thursday, January 30, 2020. That shakes out as three poets plus three jazz musicians each reading or performing for three minutes, and in between the readings a three-minute jazz improvisation by the three alternating Some’tet musicians. Or something. Got it?

The poets will be Susan Lynch (Vashon’s Poet Laureate for 2020), Lynn Carrigan, and Catherine Johnson, plus music by Some’tet (Michael Whitmore, Barry Cooper, and Patrick Christie).

Cool, man.

And as long as we’re on Vashon…. Brian Reed will present Birds, Song, and Poetry as part of the Talk on the Rock series on Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 7:00pm, at Vashon Center for the Arts.

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.

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] – 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.

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