December 12, 2013
Whether you’re a fan of poetry, pie, Kate Lebo or all of the above, do stop in for Kate’s reading at Village Books (Bellingham, WA) on Thursday, December 12, 2013, 7:00pm, when she’ll read from her delicious poetry collection, A Commonplace Book of Pie. This will be Kate’s last stop for 2013 on the Commonplace Book of Pie tour, so don’t miss it!
. . . . .
Kate Lebo photo by Natalie Shields
December 11, 2013
After the holidays, when the short, dark days of winter have settled in as if to stay forever, perhaps it’s time for a getaway… Now it’s not Palm Beach or Palm Springs, but Port Townsend is in the Olympic rain shadow and The Writers’ Workshoppe promises a day of bright ideas on Saturday, January 25, 2014.
Poets David Wagoner and Carolyne Wright will offer a one-day poetry workshop in which participants will have a chance to work closely with both instructors. Enrollment, which is limited to 20 people, includes admission to a reading that evening by the two poets. The complete description is on The Writers’ Workshoppe website. If you’re interested in this workshop, don’t delay; it will probably fill up quickly.
The Writers’ Workshoppe also offers other one- and two-day intensives as well as weekly writing groups, book groups, readings and books, along with a full array of writerly accoutrements (including typewriters!). The Writers’ Workshoppe Facebook page posts news as well as occasional prompts. Each time you respond to a prompt, post, tip or musing, your name is automatically entered into a monthly drawing for cool prizes.
December 10, 2013
In the Dark Days of Winter, Remember the Light Poetry Brings
A guest post by Kelli Russell Agodon on the occasion of Emily Dickinson’s birthday
As December amps up many of our lives, poetry is a way to ground us.
For the last month, I have been waking up before my family to write poems. I turn on my laptop, put on a little background music, then I begin. Sometimes the words don’t come. Sometimes I can’t type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.
I’m still a little sleepy when I begin and that openness between the dream world and the awake world helps.
When I feel stuck, I reach for a writing prompt from The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice (a book my friend Martha Silano and I created, inspired from our own writing dates). Mostly I just try to get something down. Sometimes the exercise starts me and I end up going an entirely different direction — that’s okay. The goal with every writing prompt is to write, not to follow directions.
Many times in our lives, we feel there’s not enough time to write, and yet we find time to go to the store, eat meals, watch television, connect with friends, clean the house. Writing should get some priority in our lives, if not a lot. Writing time should be something we strive for, to pull ourselves out of our frenzied routines.
Set the timer for ten or fifteen minutes and try to write a poem. Even if you don’t write anything, you have given yourself a little vacation from your regular life. You have opened a door to creativity. You may notice an interesting thing happening: the more you show up to write, the more you write. Our brains begin to connect with our writing times and the words come easier. With this time to our self, the rest of our life seems less hectic.
. . . . .
Get your own copy of The Daily Poet by Martha Silano and Kelli Russell Agodon.
Read more about creativity and the writing life on Kelli’s blog, Book of Kells.
. . . . .
Kelli Russell Agodon is a prize-winning poet, writer, and editor from the Northwest.
She is the author of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room (White Pine Press, 2010), winner of the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Prize in Poetry and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She is also the author of Small Knots (2004) and the chapbook, Geography (2003). She co-edited the first eBook anthology of contemporary women’s poetry, Fire On Her Tongue, and recently published The Daily Poet, a book of poetry writing exercises she coauthored with Martha Silano.
Her third collection of poems, Hourglass Museum, will be published in February 2014.
Kelli is the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press and was the editor of Seattle’s literary journal, Crab Creek Review, for the last five years. She never underestimates the power of museums and good dessert to heal what ails.
December 9, 2013
This is not to suggest that your imagination is blank. Think of it as a map of prompts that you create yourself. You could start with the actual Periodic Table of Elements and use each element as a prompt. Or you could create your own elements. Need more inspiration? Have a look…
Periodic Table of American Poets – available as a library poster from Echo Lit. They also have periodic tables of American Prose and World Literature Authors.
The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets: A Self-Help Memoir (The Writer’s Studio) by Jeffrey Skinner includes “The Periodic Table of Poetic Elements” pictured here.
On December 22, 2008, the literary magazine Rattle posted “The Periodic Table of the Elements of a Literary Life” by Louis Phillips.
The poet who identifies himself only as microcosmologist created a clickable periodic table as a way to index his poems.
The Shimer College blog posted a Periodic Table of Haiku with haiku inspired by the elements (unfortunately, a poor-quality image).
Artist/illustrator Christoph Niemann includes a Periodic Table of Metaphors on his site (among other wonderful “illustrated-life” images).
And a few other favorite periodic tables…
- The Periodic Table of the Muppets by Mike BaBoon Design
- The Periodic Table of Storytelling by James Harris aka DawnPaladin aka ComputerSherpa
- Periodic Table of Social Issues by the UK design team Dorothy
- The Elements of Hip Hop by Funkmode Designs
- The Periodic Table of Typefaces from Simon Garfield’s book Just My Type, posted at Galley Cat
- The wonderful Periodic Table of Visualization Methods by Ralph Lengler and Martin J. Eppler
Now all you have to do is fill in the blanks!
December 8, 2013
This just in: a poetry reading and performance on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at the Old World Deli in Bellingham, Washington, to benefit The Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project.
Y. Yi Pang, traveling from Heidelberg, Germany, will read from her new book, Tales of Life in Light and Shadow.
Award-winning Bellingham poet Kevin Murphy, known for his exuberance, quirky humor and off-beat insights (with nods to the Beats, the bards, the surrealists and the blues) will accompany himself on guitar and percussion.
Doors open at 5:00pm – antipasto, wine and beverages available.
Reading and performance begins at 6:00pm.
$10 donation suggested, with net proceeds given to the Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project.
December 7, 2013
World Book Night is not until April 23, 2014, but the window to sign up remains open only until January 5, 2014.
As a “Giver” you receive 20 free paperback copies of a book from the 2014 Book List (you can choose your first, second and third choice when you apply), then you give them away to “light or non-readers, especially people who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography.” It’s easy and it costs you nothing.
To sign up, complete an application (you must apply even if you’ve been a Giver in previous years). You can specify your local independent bookstore as your pickup point and host store.
December 5, 2013
Each year, during the dark months of winter, poets and friends gather for the Ish River Poets Circle in a tradition started by Robert Sund in the early 1980s.
The December gathering, on Sunday, December 15, 2013, 3:00-5:00pm, will feature poets Jane Alynn, Caleb Barber and Jennifer Bullis plus a musical intermission with Brad Killion and Jeff Winston. The poets will gather at Anchor Art Space in Anacortes, which has been transformed for the season into a holiday gift store filled with one-of-a-kind, affordable, unusual and highly crafted artwork.