Category Archives: Poetry

Pie Poems

Thanksgiving week seems like a good time to do a post about pie poems.

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A Few of my Favorite Things of Late

People matching artworks in museums

The poem “Shadowbox” by Susan Rich which, if I’d been on it, I would have put up on Halloween just as Poem-a-Day did.

Continuing the slightly late for Halloween but always interesting topic of bats, Continue reading

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One Sky, Two Poems, and a Book Bingo Card

This round, a quick turn away from the climate change sadnesses of the world to look at a few lovely things.

I love this project (h/t Austin Kleon’s newsletter) — 88 artists all over the world looked up all at 12:00pm Eastern Standard and drew the sky. One Sky.

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Two poems I thoroughly enjoyed: “Truck Carrying Live Eels Overturns on Highway 101” from Rattle’s Poets Respond project, and “Page One” by Joannie Stangeland.

And in case you were wondering, here’s how my Summer Book Bingo played out. Continue reading

Poetry and More Poetry for #BookBingoNW2017

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It’s Summer Book Bingo* time!!! And though Poetry is but one square, that doesn’t mean you don’t have Poetry options for just about all the rest of the squares too.

So here is a list of poetry collections which will satisfy 2017’s Bingo squares, curated with the generous help of Billie Swift, Kym Littlefield and Alexander Moyasenko of Open Books: A Poem Emporium, and Seattle poets Susan Rich, J.W. Marshall, and Joannie Stangeland (thank you!)

*One of my favorite annual Seattle events. (Here are the details for those unfamiliar with the general idea, and also a pdf of the bingo card if you want to get started before you make it to a library branch).

Let’s begin with the most subjective and random (which is to say pulled at random off my own bookshelf), CHOOSE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. And this post ends with the longest, (thanks to Billie Swift!), WASHINGTON STATE AUTHOR. Some of these categories obviously are a very few suggestions for what could be impossibly long lists (LGBTQIA AUTHOR, BY AN AUTHOR OF COLOR, anyone?!), but are at least a place to start.

Happy (POETRY) reading this summer!

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Seattle Independent Bookstore Day and a Titch More

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is April 29th!!! (three exclamation points at the very very least.) Hope to see you out there — yes my mom and I will be doing the whole shebang again together. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read 2015 and2016 ‘s recaps then go see what’s happening in your neck of the woods on the 29th).

I also highly recommend you read these:

Jane Hirschfield, On the Fifth Day

Bob Hicock’s We’ve Come a Long Way Toward Getting Nowhere

Alex Dmitrov’s The Moon After Election Day

And look at these:

Chronophotography of birds in flight from a project called Ornitographies — they’re somethin’ else.

 

1 Perfect Title, 2 Oof Endings, and some other fun

The mix this week: two poems with hella amazing endings, one with a perfect title, a cool website devoted to black history (including in the West), and for fun some “The Future that Liberals Want” meme and french bulldogs in sweatshirts on a couch.

Ghazal, the Dark Times” by Marilyn Hacker begins:

Tell us that line again, the thing about the dark times…
“When the dark times come, we will sing about the dark times.”

and includes this stanza, so delicious to read aloud and an excellent use of “bling”:

Naysayers in sequins or tweeds, libertine or ascetic
Find a sensual frisson in what they’d call bling about the dark times.

and after much more like that ends with this gut punch reminder:

You come home from your meeting, your clinic, make coffee and look in the mirror
And ask yourself once more what you did to bring about the dark times.

Read the whole thing. Continue reading

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More Than Poetry and Poetry More Than Ever

Well! It’s been a while. Some things have happened in the world. I’ve been (making calls and protesting and writing and drawing and working and reading and) trying to figure out what I can do here that’s useful to the things I care about right now. My friend Joannie Stangeland texted, on election night, “We’re gonna need more than poetry and we’re gonna need poetry more than ever.” And Matthew Zapruder put it this way:

“Poets, if you find yourselves worrying that your poems are not “about” political matters, here is my suggestion: every single time you feel that worry, finish your poem, make it as beautiful as you can, and then do some kind of concrete action. Support threatened communities, or the environment. Pledge yourself to participating in a voter registration drive. Give money to a political organization working tirelessly for change. If you do this, the world will benefit in two ways: from your activism, and from the beautiful poem you have made.”

A mix, in other words.

So here’s a mix. Continue reading

Recommendations from My Summer Book Bingo Reading

Summer’s over in Seattle: it’s gone all cool and drizzly except sometimes, I now want to eat things with lots of cinnamon, and I turned in my Book Bingo card. I didn’t quite make it to a full Blackout this year by the Labor Day deadline, alas, but got a couple bingos in there. Here’s a rundown of what I read (typed, to save you from my squinting at my handwriting and saying “huh…?”) with quick thumbs up thumbs down recommendations.

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Erasure Poems

I got really into doing erasure/blackout poems in July. I’d never tried them before really, but I was doing a 30-poems-in-30-days challenge with some friends, and wanted to participate more days of the month than not—but I didn’t have the poetry-emergy-wherewithal to write from scratch everyday. Blackout poems, I discovered, were a really fun and rewarding way to still participate in the making of poetry without having the burden of the totally blank page.

I’ve gotten quite into it, and have some larger erasure projects in mind for the winter when being outside isn’t so tempting. But in the meantime, I’m thoroughly enjoying the occasional foray of taking a Sharpie to a magazine. Entertainment Weekly is surprisingly fecund (though Us Weekly is not), and Money Magazine, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest and House Beautiful work well. The New Yorker’s vocabulary of course makes it a fantastic source too (and now I finally know what to do with all those years-old New Yorkers I am never going to get around to reading!). But the most fun was definitely the night I used the King County Voters pamphlet.

Here are a few of the ones I did in July that I like best. (Click on the images to see them larger). Enjoy!

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Some reading for this week

Links to a few poems for this week (and the week before that, and the week before that, and…) plus a list of suggestions from Black Lives Matter activists for what white people like me can do, to do more than just feel stuck in feeling this is all awful and not knowing what else to do. Black lives matter. Black voices matter, and should be heard. Listening/reading is a place to start. These are powerful poems. Would that they weren’t so topical (or in the case of the Gwendolyn Brooks poem—which was written in the 1970s—so perpetually topical).

Bullet Points” by Jericho Brown

I will not shoot myself
In the head, and I will not shoot myself
In the back, and I will not hang myself
With a trashbag, and if I do,
I promise you, I will not do it
In a police car while handcuffed
Or in the jail cell of a town
I only know the name of
Because I have to drive through it
To get home. […]

Read the rest of “Bullet Points

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