face to face?

July 8, 2021

(NOTE: this post has been updated since it was published on July 8, 2021.)

We were curious about the prognosis for in-person poetry readings, so we contacted a bunch of event organizers from around Cascadia. There are certainly some missing and a few didn’t reply (perhaps they’ll Comment with current info), but here’s what we’ve found out so far (locations are Washington unless otherwise noted):

  • BookTree (Kirkland) will probably resume in-store readings in September and may have a couple of special events with visiting poets before then… like in August.
  • Broken Mic (Spokane) weekly in-person open mics resumed on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
  • Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater (Bellingham) continues on Zoom on the second Wednesdays in July and August. Starting in September: second-Wednesday live readings at an indoor location TBA and fourth-Wednesday Zoom open mic readings; the two may later merge into a hybrid.
  • Couth Buzzard (Seattle) weekly in-person Wednesday Open Mics resumed on July 7. Seating is limited so reserve by calling 206-436-2960.
  • Creative Colloquy (Tacoma) MAY be back in action in July but no firm answer quite yet; will continue to host The Writer’s Workshop Series virtually for the time being.
  • Creekside (Bellingham) will not gather in person or Zoom for the summer months but hopes to resume on Zoom in the fall, perhaps October.
  • Duvall Poetry (Duvall) at some point will meet again in person at the Duvall Library, but no definite date has been set.
  • Easy Speak (Seattle)
  • Edmonds Bookshop (Edmonds) has no immediate plans for in-person readings, but hopes to be ready for a National Poetry Month gathering in April 2022.
  • Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle) expects to start hosting some in-person readings in October (Teresa K Miller will appear in person on October 10), while still hosting some Zooms. Elliott Bay has just announced its first in-person event in a year and a half: a ticketed outdoor benefit reading with Molly Wizenberg.
  • Empty Bowl (Anacortes) is still publishing and plans to send out a schedule of live, in-person readings to begin in September.
  • Everett Poetry Night (Everett) has two weekly in-person readings: Sundays at Legion Park (open mic, weather dependent) and Thursdays at Café Zippy (open mic plus feature, in covered patio)
  • 49 Writers (Anchorage, AK)
  • Gelato & Poetry Night (new in Bellingham) meets in person, in the patio, with a featured reader and open mic, 2nd and 4th Sundays, 6:00pm at All That Jazz Boutique Gallery, downtown. More on Instagram @allthatjazzgallery.
  • Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic (Vancouver) hopes to return to in-person readings in a new location before the end of the year. Also hoping to find $upport for continued Zoom coverage.
  • Haiku Komo Kulshan (Bellingham) is on hiatus for the summer. Will Zoom in September with a kukai.
  • Haiku Northwest will continue to meet via Zoom through the summer and will meet in person for the annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway, October 28-31, 2021.
  • Hugo House (Seattle) is still working out the details, with the first in-person Scribes summer camp in August, select in-person adult classes beginning in September, and other in-person events and classes phased in slowly this fall.
  • It’s About Time (Seattle) reports that the Seattle Public Library will not host public events through the end of the year, so plans for resumption of in-person readings at the Ballard branch remain in the works.
  • Lilla Lit (Portland, OR)
  • Margin Shift: Friends in Poetry (Seattle) isn’t quite ready to declare an in-person, indoors schedule, but will celebrate with the first live reading in 15 months on Thursday, July 15, at Volunteer Park at 6:30pm. This and future events will also livestream.
  • Milwaukie Poetry Series (Milwaukie, OR) hopes to host the 15th Season in person starting this Fall. Meanwhile, the 14th Season continues online.
  • Northwest Renaissance Poets (Auburn) does not have plans to resume in-person readings but hopes to start looking at options soon.
  • Olympia Poetry Network (Olympia) venue, New Traditions Café, has not yet opened for live events, but OPN is looking at September or soon after as a dream date for normalizing the monthly series.
  • Open Books (Seattle) is optimistic and the all-volunteer event staff is discussing plans, but there’s no definitive answer yet.
  • Planet Earth Poetry (Victoria, BC) is currently venue hunting; hopes to be able to resume face-to-face readings in the fall and also hoping to do a hybrid Zoom/in-person format.
  • PoetryBridge (West Seattle) is on hiatus for the summer but plans on resuming readings in person at C&P Coffee the second Wednesday of each month starting on September 8, 2021, and also plans to continue monthly Zoom readings on a date TBA.
  • poetrynight (Bellingham) is talking about restarting but uncertain about the timing and location as their venue, the Alternative Library, is moving.
  • Puget Sound Poetry Connection (Tacoma) will meet live on Friday, September 10, at 7:00pm at Immanuel Presbyterian Church for the first live meeting after nine months of Zoom.
  • RASP (Redmond) awaits word from the venue on renovations and whether/when in-person sessions may be possible.
  • Red Wheelbarrow Writers (Bellingham) intends to begin in-person first-Saturday gatherings in August, including an open mic for ten readers as part of each meeting, newcomers welcome.
  • Salon of Shame (Seattle) is not sure when in-person will resume, but is putting together an outreach strategy to ensure they’ve got plenty of readers once they do.
  • SoulFood Poetry Night (Redmond) plans to resume its in-person events with the September 16, 2021, reading and meanwhile, continues on Zoom with the July 15, 2021, reading marking SoulFood Poetry Nights’s 15th anniversary, with features Jeannine Hall Gailey and Annette Spaulding, who were the very first readers on July 18, 2006.
  • Striped Water Poets (Auburn)
  • Valley Writers (Bellingham) will continue meeting on Zoom, 1:00-3:00pm on the last Friday of the month until further notice.
  • Village Books (Bellingham) in-person open mics with Seán Dwyer will resume in July (both Spanish-language, 6:00pm, and English-language, 7:00pm) with simultaneous Zoom for off-site readers.
  • Whatcom Writers & Publishers (Bellingham) is on hiatus for the summer following a celebratory in-person picnic. Watch the site to see if the second-Wednesday meetings will resume in person or online.
  • Windfall (Eugene, OR) will resume in September; the hope is that Windfall will continue in a hybrid fashion, with authors at the library proper, but streaming the readings so folks can tune in from anywhere in the known universe.

Meanwhile, in related news: Pacific Northwest Writers Conference will remain 100% online for 2021 as will Write on the Sound writers’ conference, while Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association will hold their regular tradeshow, in person.

Please be sure to check web links for the latest information.

HUGE thanks to the determined organizers who have kept on in spite of the odds and who responded so quickly to my pleas for information.

. . . . .
Photo by Joe Mabel

your turn?

October 24, 2020

Applications are now being accepted for the position of Washington State Poet Laureate.

The position serves to build awareness and appreciation of poetry through public readings, workshops, and presentations in communities throughout the state.

The new laureate will serve from April 15, 2021-April 14, 2023. The position is sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and Humanities Washington, with the support of Governor Jay Inslee.

To be considered, applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and submit an application online. Applications must be submitted electronically by 5:00 p.m. on December 4, 2020.

Those wishing to apply are encouraged to attend a webinar on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. or Wednesday, October 28 at 5:00 p.m.

The current poet laureate is the wonderful Claudia Castro Luna (a hard act to follow, as were her predecessors). A Washington State Book Award-nominated poet and creator of Washington Poetic Routes and One River, Many Voices series of readings along the Columbia River, Castro Luna has held hundreds of poetry workshops and readings across Washington State since February 2018. See more on the Washington State Poet Laureate blog.

Is it your turn?

finalists

August 26, 2020

The Washington Center for the Book has selected 39 finalists in eight categories for the 2020 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2019. The finalists in poetry are:

  • Bright Stain by Francesca Bell, formerly of Spokane now lives in Novato, CA (Red Hen Press)
  • Turn Around Time: A Walking Poem for the Pacific Northwest by David Guterson, of Bainbridge Island, illustrated by Justin Gibbens, of Thorp (Mountaineers Books)
  • All Its Charms by Keetje Kuipers, of Bainbridge Island (BOA Editions)
  • Hail and Farewell by Abby E. Murray, of Puyallup (Perugia Press)
  • Nightingale by Paisley Rekdal, formerly of Seattle now lives in Salt Lake City, UT (Copper Canyon Press)

Winners will be announced on Friday, September 25, 2020. See the complete list of finalists in all categories here.

Congratulations, all!

island poetry

June 27, 2020

The Town of Friday Harbor and Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC) have announced the winners of their first Poetry Garden Contest. A blind judging process was used to review 271 poems submitted by 90 San Juan County residents. Final selections were made by Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna and include 20 adults and 10 students grades 3 to 12.

Winning poems will be published in a book as well as engraved for display at four outdoor poetry gardens located in Friday Harbor at the San Juan Community Theatre, the Mullis Community Senior Center, next to the post office, and at the waterfront viewing area below Downriggers. Congratulations to the poets and to Friday Harbor.

If your summer travels, such as they are, include San Juan Island, be sure to browse the newly installed poems.

. . . . .
Poetry Garden photo by Rebecca Cook

June 12

June 12, 2020

congrats!

April 26, 2020

Congratulations to Andrew Shattuck McBride, Jill McCabe Johnson, and the many fine writers whose work is included in For Love of Orcas, which has just received a prestigious Nautilus Book Award in the category Animals and Nature.

Congratulations, also, to Clyde Ford, whose book Think Black won a Nautilus Gold Award in the Social Change and Social Justice category, and to Eric Scigliano, whose book The Big Thaw was awarded Special Honors as 2019 Nautilus Grand Prize Winner.

See the complete list of Nautilus Book Award winners.

give some feedback

March 10, 2020

The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is asking for your feedback on the Washington State Poet Laureate program.

There are two surveys: one for poets and one for Poet Laureate event organizers. If you are both, they ask that you complete both surveys.

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT RESPONSES: Sunday, March 29, 2020.

a hard act to follow

August 2, 2019

Yes, the current and previous poets laureate of Washington State have set a high bar, but you could bring your own passion, voice, and creativity to the job.

The deadline for State Poet Laureate applications has been extended to Monday, August 5, 2019. Hurry!

Washington needs you

June 20, 2019

Do you have an abundance of energy, creativity, time, patience, and poetry smarts? If so, you could be the next Washington State Poet Laureate.

Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) are accepting applications for Washington State’s next poet laureate. The poet laureate serves to build awareness and appreciation of poetry, including Washington’s legacy of poetry, through public readings, workshops, and presentations in communities throughout the state. The new laureate will serve from January 16, 2020, to January 15, 2022.

The deadline to apply is July 26, 2019.

View application guidelines here.

Pictured, from left, recent Washington Poets Laureate Tod Marshall, Claudia Castro Luna, Elizabeth Austen, Kathleen Flenniken. (Not shown: Samuel Green)

GiveBIG

May 8, 2019

Today, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, is GiveBIG day. Perhaps you’ve received requests from some of your favorite nonprofits asking for your support. GiveBIG 2019 is a one-day online giving event to raise funds for nonprofit organizations headquartered in or with a service location in Washington State. In some cases, GiveBIG donations may be matched, so they are worth more to the organization. At least 1541 nonprofits are registered with GiveBIG.

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