"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable." - Mary Oliver
Featured (monthly) Readings
Born in 1943 in Auburn, where she still lives, graduated from Auburn High School in 1961, attended Green River and Highline colleges, University of Washington, and Pacific Lutheran University. Graduated Rainier Writing Workshop Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU in 2007. Former logging truck driver, logging camp cook, hash house waitress, newspaper reporter-photographer-editor, publicist, creative writing instructor at Highline and Pierce colleges, visiting lecturer at Pacific Lutheran University. Willard R. Espy Literary Foundation resident, 2000; Adam Family Foundation White Bridge Traveling Fellowship to live and write in Teton Valley, 2001. Co-founder The Northwest Renaissance, a nonprofit coalition of poets and writers continuously active in the Puget Sound area since the mid-70s. Coordinated the Kent Arts Commission-funded NWR program, Poets at the Kent Canterbury Faire, an annual August reading/workshop and chapbook series, through the Faire's 20-year run. The series continues with Kent Arts Commission sponsorship as Poets@Kent Cornucopia! in July. Her work has appeared in PoetsWest, Arnazella's Reading List, The Duckabush Journal, Signal International, Mr. Cogito, Stone Drum, Images, The Written Arts, Washington Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Northwest Handbook (Media Weavers 1991), Voices in the Trees (Evergreen Press 1989), (GodZillah Gospel Press 1995), and most recently in Kyoto Journal and Origami Condom. Contact: email@example.com
Mate caught in a trap, she looks for ways to release him, fetches
small game for his sustenance,
soaks in river water to bring him drink
in her fur. She curls around him at night, licks his wound, soothes
his coat & his heaii-they sing together in darkness. She stays, she stays
till death shows him mercy, or he gnaws the caught leg free.
( BECOMING : What Makes A Woman, J ill Johnson, editor, 2011, University of Nebraska)
Michael Dylan Welch
6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at Traditions Café, 300 5th Ave. SW in downtown Olympia
Michael Dylan Welch is on a mission to write at least one new poem each week in 2018, in addition to his regular haiku, senryu, and tanka. Michael served two years as poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, where he also curates SoulFood Poetry Night and the Redmond Association of Spokenword, and also directs the Poets in the Park festival. He has published his poems, essays, and reviews in hundreds of journals and anthologies in more than twenty languages, and his recent books include Jumble Box, Earthsigns, Seven Suns / Seven Moons(with Tanya McDonald), Off the Beaten Track: A Year in Haiku, Fire in the Treetops, and Becoming a Haiku Poet. Michael cofounded the Haiku North America conference and the American Haiku Archives. He also founded the Tanka Society of America, and National Haiku Writing Month (www.nahaiwrimo.com). He has been keynote speaker for the Haiku International Association's annual convention in Tokyo, and had a poem from one of his books of Japanese translations featured on the back of 150,000,000 U.S. postage stamps. Michael lives in Sammamish, Washington, and you can visit him at www.graceguts.com.
Flowers on the Roof of Hell
in this world
we walk on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers
Today Issa came over for dinner.
Nothing fancy, just Thai take-out from the place down the road.
He came on foot, carrying a satchel.
I welcomed him at the door, and he removed his sandals.
The low evening sun sparkled
through the tall glass of water I gave him.
He admired it before he drank it in one go.
I showed him to the living room, where he sat on the couch,
almost delicately. Then, as if conscious
of his bare feet, he curled them up under himself.
We talked of poetry all through dinner,
stray noodles landing on the plain wooden table as we ate.
We talked of favourite poets and poems,
and the challenge of writing freshly about old subjects.
We talked of writing one’s joy in a fiercely crushed world,
of flowers on the roof of hell.
When he told me it was time for him to go,
I asked if I could give him a ride
but he declined, as I knew he would.
He had a long way to travel,
but held a finger to his lips and gently shook his smile.
Then Issa took his sandals in hand
and padded off into the dark.
I opened the satchel he left behind.
Inside it bloomed white asters.
A Senryu Workshop
with LLyn De Danaan
Feb. 13, 2018 7-8:30 p.m. at the Olympia Center
Senryu, a poem of 3 lines and 17 syllables, is structurally similar to Haiku. It was written by immigrant Japanese and Japanese American communities throughout Washington State during the 20th century. It was also written in the internment camps during WWII and is found, now, inscribed on commemorative stones including at the Moritani Reserve on Bainbridge Island and in the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland. We will discuss the form, the cultural context for this form specifically in Washington State, then write together on themes.
LLyn De Danaan is a writer of fiction and non-fiction and a cultural anthropologist. She has a piece in WA 129, the Washington State poetry anthology published in 2017. Her most recent book is Katie Gale: A Coast Salish Woman’s Life on Oyster Bay. (University of Nebraska Press) She worked with a community of Japanese Americans on Oyster Bay to collect life histories and poetry. This work was published in an article called “Mountain of Shell: The Senryu Poetry of Miyoko Sato and Yukiko Abo.” (Columbia Magazine, Winter 2011.http://www.washingtonhistory.org/files/library/25-4-winter.pdf) De Danaan is a speaker for Humanities Washington and emerita faculty, The Evergreen State College.
Top Hat, Tux and Tails: Formal Verse Two
with Allen Braden
March 13th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Olympia Center
222 Columbia Street SE, Olympia, room 103.
Not a continuation but an addition to Braden’s last session for OPN, this time we’ll look at other forms in poetry such as terza rima and pantoum to discuss the uses of rhyme, stanza and repetition. We’ll explore beyond the realm of free verse through exercises and examples of formal poems, new or old, funny or serious.
Allen Braden is the author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood and Elegy in the Passive Voice. He has published recently in The Times Literary Supplement and The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins. A native of White Swan, Washington, he has taught at nearby community colleges since 1998.
DECEMBER Seasonal Readings to celebrate the holidays
APRIL – Dead Poets Readings
AUGUST Open Mic