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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homeward Bound Edition

During the school year I forget all about the incredible beauty of the interior Western part of the United States. This is the third time in the past four years we've spent our summer vacation driving to Colorado from Seattle, and the ride just keeps getting more beautiful as my kids get old enough to play Twenty Questions and Trivia Questions About Science in Exchange for Skittles as we fly past potato fields, nesting ospreys, grazing horses/cattle, and antique shops (like the one in Dillon, MT) I wish I could peruse. This is Wyoming as we neared the Wind River Range:

Someday I hope to backpack in these mountains, but in the meantime we have to settle for speeding by them at 80 mph marveling at the clouds, the wide sky--the biggest sky I've ever come across (the entire view is sky; the land is nothing compared to it, but we did enjoy and the rabbitbrush blooming all along the highway). And then there are  along those Ron Paul stickers plastered everywhere, and those bullet holes through the "No Littering" signs. (It will cost you $750 if you litter in Wyoming, but who will catch you if you do? A day driving through Wyoming, and we never saw a police car).

I love the wild West, long to fish the Beavertail and the Big Hole, wish I could have spent a week instead of two days hauling ass in the Suburu through the best flyfishing streams in the world, but coming back to the Pacific NW is always such a joy. We live in such a welcoming, tolerant, diverse, and open-minded neighborhood. Not one ripe cherry tomato had been pilfered from our front yard veggie patch; no one even absconded with the ripening pumpkin! But more than that, we felt grateful to be a part of a community of good folk. The air smelled fresh (straight off the Pacific) as we supped on an arugula and proscuitto pizza at our local bistro, toasting our return from an amazing three weeks in NW Colorado.

It's a crap shoot where you end up living. Birth, economic circumstance, ambition (or lack  thereof), and just plain bad luck can land you in a place with bad air, poor job prospects, a dead end in terms of upward mobility. I know damn well how lucky I got, and I give thanks daily to not only that luck of decent DNA, but to two parents who valued education over just about everything else except familial love. They also taught me to whip up a mean caprese salad. Mange!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beacon Bards September Readers: Snyder-Camp & Shoemaker

I am pleased to announce the first two readers for Beacon Bards, a brand-new reading series happening at The Station cafe in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle: Megan Snyder-Camp and Laura Shoemaker. The first reading is on September 12, and will commence at 7 pm. After the featured readers do their thing, we'll have a short intermission followed by an open mic. 

A little bit about The Station. If you love funky, comfy, and one-of-a-kind, you will quickly grow to adore this cafe. The owner, Luis, is an absolute sweetie. There's even outside seating in his very inviting back patio. I hesitate  to say more because I'm afraid I will no longer be able to find a seat at my favorite Seattle hang-out, but in the interest of poetry I insist: get yourself up, up, up to this inviting cafe across the street from the Beacon Hill light rail stop, 2533 16th Avenue S., between Bayview and Lander Streets. And, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, plan on getting there early for a coveted seat (and don't forget to bring a poem to share). 

Laura Shoemaker lives in Columbia City with her husband and two children. Her current writing explores the intersection of poetry, creativity and motherhood. Laura has taught writing at the University of Washington and Richard Hugo House and her poems have appeared in FIELD, The Bellingham Review, and others. Her chapbook, For Want, was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press.

Megan Snyder-Camp's first collection, The Forest of Sure Things (2010), won the Tupelo Press/Crazyhorse First Book Award. She has been the recipient of grants and residencies from the 4Culture Foundation, Djerassi, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Espy Foundation, and the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, and her work was recently featured on the PBS NewsHour.

Megan-Snyder Camp

Laura Shoemaker

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Poet Must Know Everything: Summer Vacation Edition

Checker Mallow

The poet Stanley Kunitz said a poet must know everything. At least that's what David Wagoner told our class when I took his writing workshop a bunch of years back. In the spirit of Kunitz/Wagoner, I've been busy trying to learn everything since around 1982 (actually ten years before I enrolled at UW and met Mr. Wagoner), but mainly in the area of plants, birds, and other critters. When I go on vacation, I am happy if I can add a few new species to my list of memorized flora. Here in Colorado, I have been graced with two new plant species. The first is Sidalcea candida, also known as the Checker Mallow, a wonderfully white and slightly red-specked member of the monodelphously-stamened Malvaceae family (think hibiscus). I'm a huge fan of the Mountain Gentian, but this year I found another species of dark blue gentian that's a tad more delicate and prefers the marshier lowlands--the little gentian. The mountain gentian is prettier in my opinion, but in keeping with Kunitz's pronouncement it's always a lovely thing to discover a new species.

Mountain Gentian

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Seattle's Beacon Hill Neighborhood Welcomes Beacon Bards, a Monthly Poetry Reading Series


ROCKiT Community Arts Announces Monthly Poetry Reading Series
at The Station, a café located in the Beacon Hill Neighborhood of Seattle

Seattle, WA – August 13, 2012. Beginning Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 7-9 pm, ROCKiT Community Arts will sponsor Beacon Bards, a monthly poetry reading series in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Readings will commence at 7 pm at The Station, a café located at 2533 16th Avenue South, between Bayview and Lander Streets. Subsequent readings will take place on October 10, November 14, and December 12, continuing into 2013 and beyond. Each reading will feature two poets, followed by an open mic.  Upcoming readers include Seattle poets Kary Wayson, Melanie Noel, and Megan Snyder-Camp. For further information, contact Martha Silano, Beacon Bards Poetry Reading Series curator, at or The Station (206-453-4892)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vote for Me Redux!

Fascination Awards

Click here to vote for Blue Positive, which has been nominated for a 2012 Fascination Award in the are of Teaching Creative Writing.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cincinnati Review: The Seattle Contributor Reading, with Special Guest Don Bogen (editor-in-chief)

Left to Right: Jeannine Hall Gailey, Don Bogen, Martha Silano, Carolyn Wright, Priscilla Long, Kelly Davio, Rebecca Hoogs, Megan Snyder-Camp

When I left my house at 6:05 pm the sun was hot, hot, hot on my very inviting front porch. Also, the chaise lounge was beckoning me to lie upon it, browsing The New York Times Book Review, which had been sitting on my kitchen table for the last three days. 

My main concern, as I stepped into my sparkly mules and donned my sparkly, sleeveless let's-get-psyched-to-go-out blouse, was the number of days that Seattle is actually pleasantly warm (twenty? fifteen?). 

My secondary concern was that approximately three people would be sitting in the audience at 7:05 pm: namely, the husbands/wives of Jeannine, Carolyne, and Don. 

How wrong I was. On a gorgeous Wednesday night in August, Seattle's literati had come out to hear poetry. Besides being a great audience, they purchased quite a few CR subscriptions, along with many of the contributors collections.

Thanks to everyone in attendance for a wonderful night in celebration of the fabulous little magazine from Cincinnati!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Poet-izing: Summer Edition

When writing/editing must be attended to during the rare rain-less days of July, there's only one way to get it done: outside. So when poet/editor Kelli Russell Agodon and I met up to continue work on a collaborative book project the other day, I immediately opted for the patio table as our work space. But not before a quick tour of her beautiful herb and flower garden, along with a formal introduction to the Frog Laureate of Washington, who lives in the Agodon family's own personal backyard pond, along with the unveiling of a box-o-decadent-treats from Chocolati. With an assortment of chocolate truffles (Grand Marnier and Cayenne were my favorites), we got down to the business of editing. Four hours flew by, and before I knew it I was gathering up my papers and racing out to make an evening event. The high for day had not reached 65 degrees, but in my soul it was a very comfortable 80. Summer in Western Washington: it doesn't get better.

Kelli in the garden
Frog Laureate of Washington State

Essential Nutrition for Hard-working Editors

with Kelli Russell Agodon, poet and editor extraordinaire