Time to Say Thank You and Farewell

My notebooks are full of DIY phonetic pronunciations of Washington place-names (“pond-or-RAY”), snippets of landscape descriptions (“so many shades of green, and not one the color of money”), early drafts of what eventually became poems for Bedtime Stories, Citizenship Day and Country Doctor Community Clinics, ideas about how to improve a workshop or a prompt, new favorite restaurants (Cugini, in Walla Walla).

No two years of my life have passed more quickly — or been as rewarding on so many levels — as these. The whole experience of serving as the Washington State poet laureate was an incredible privilege, and I grew as a writer, teacher and person in ways I suspect I will be assimilating for some time.

Continue reading “Time to Say Thank You and Farewell”

Poetry for All: Prompt 5

Finally, here’s the 5th installment of the “Poetry for All” series of short video writing prompts: Call and Response. Please feel free to use the “Comments” section to share your response to the prompt, and to forward this video on to others.

This prompt features Ellen Bass’s poem “The World Has Need of You” from Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press).

See other prompts.

Poem credits:

Ellen Bass, “The World Has Need of You” from Like a Beggar. Copyright © 2014 by Ellen Bass. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Poem for the times: “Deciduous”

Deciduous

Days like today
I could let it all go.

Release ambition
like a balloon floating

into someone else’s
yard. Let the radio

keep its death toll
and speeches. I will give

myself to what will answer
with blossom and fruit.

Could I die back?
Could I be mere twigs,

waiting? Give me
light, rain, a piece of ground.

Here I might remember
the prayer of silence, practice

one thing until done well,
heal what lies

within reach.

 

-Elizabeth Austen

I wrote this at the start of the Iraq war.

 

May 30: Hike & Write

Photo courtesy of Dana Hubanks.

May 30 from 12:30 to 4p on the Iron Horse Trail

The start of summer means it’s time to move the writing outside!

I hope you’ll join me for a short, meditative hike (4 to 5 miles)  and a brief, guided writing session in response to our walk. Bring writing materials, water, snacks and warm layers. We’ll sit on the ground to write, so you may want to bring something to sit on.

Meet at 12:30pm at the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot (exit 32 from I-90) and look for the “Hike & Write with the Poet Laureate” sign. No pre-registration needed, and no previous experience with hiking or writing required.

In case of rain, we’ll write in the Cedar River Watershed Educational Center, which is adjacent to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot. (We’ll still meet up at the parking lot.)

From the 2014 Hike & Write at Deception Pass State Park. Photo courtesy of Dave Wenning.
From the 2014 Hike & Write at Deception Pass State Park. Photo courtesy of Dave Wenning.

This program is free, and open to the public. It is sponsored by The Black Dog Arts Coalition, Humanities Washington and ArtsWA.

Reading at the Black Dog Arts Cafe in Snoqualmie at 7p

After the hike, I’ll give a reading at The Black Dog Arts Café in Snoqualmie at 7p. Why not make a day of it? Come out and hike, then have dinner at the Black Dog, followed by poetry and live music.

Poetry for All

“Poetry for All” is a series of short video writing prompts. I’ve put these together for the poetry-curious, for beginning writers, and for anyone who’d like company at the desk. I’ve posted four so far, with at least one more to come later this month. Here they are:

Prompt 1: A Memorable Meal

This prompt features Li-Young Lee’s poem “Eating Together,” from Rose (BOA Editions).

Prompt 2: A Visitation

This prompt features Peter Pereira’s poem “Twenty Years after His Passing, My Father Appears to Us in Chicago, at Bobby Chinn’s Crab & Oyster House, in the Guise of Our Waiter, Ramon” from What’s Written on the Body (Copper Canyon Press).

Prompt 3: Desire

Prompt 3 features “Desire, Like a Hungry Lion” by Dorothy Trogdon from her collection Tall Woman Looking (Blue Begonia Press).

Prompt 4: The Sensory World

William Stafford’s poem “Starting With Little Things” is the model poem for prompt 4. It’s in Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems (Graywolf Press).

 

Poem credits:

Li-Young Lee, “Eating Together” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Peter Pereira, “Twenty Years after His Passing, My Father Appears to Us in Chicago, at Bobby Chinn’s Crab & Oyster House, in the Guise of Our Waiter, Ramon” from What’s Written on the Body. Copyright © 2007 by Peter Pereira. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Dorothy Trogdon, “Desire, Like a Hungry Lion” from Tall Woman Looking. Copyright © 2012 by Dorothy Trogdon. Used with the permission of the author and Blue Begonia Press.

William Stafford, “Starting With Little Things” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright © 1987 by William Stafford. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Poetry for All: Prompt 4

The “Poetry for All” series continues with a marvelous poem by William Stafford: “Starting With Little Things.”

Prompt 4:

See other prompts.

Poem credits:

William Stafford, “Starting With Little Things” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright © 1987 by William Stafford. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, http://www.graywolfpress.org.

My thanks to the featured poets for permission to use their poems, and to Sheila Farr and John Helde for essential technical help.

Poetry for All: Prompt 3

Here’s the third in my “Poetry for All” series of video poetry prompts. This one features “Desire, Like a Hungry Lion” by Dorothy Trogdon from her collection Tall Woman Looking (Blue Begonia Press).

Prompt 3: Desire

Desire, Like a Hungry Lion

                                                                  For RB

A hungry lion is loose in the streets of May.

How difficult it is for you to know what you require
at any passage of your life
               yet something sees and knows and waits

until you open your door and go forward to meet it,
to offer what has been taking shape within you.

Hold out the tempting crumbs in the palm of your hand
and quietly wait until you feel the touch of the velvet muzzle.

Look well at the fur and claw of wildness, your brother.
The stars need darkness or you would not know them.

—Dorothy Trogdon

You can hear Dorothy Trogdon reading her poem at KUOW.org.

See other prompts.

Feel free to share this, and I hope you’ll leave me a comment to tell me know how it goes.

Poem credits:

Dorothy Trogdon, “Desire, Like a Hungry Lion” from Tall Woman Looking. Copyright © 2012 by Dorothy Trogdon. Used with the permission of the author and Blue Begonia Press.

My thanks to the featured poets for permission to use their poems, and to Sheila Farr and John Helde for essential technical help.