Celebrate Madeline DeFrees, Jan. 9

defreesPoets Anne McDuffie and Kathleen Flenniken will host a celebration of the life and work of beloved Northwest poet Madeline DeFrees on Jan. 9 at 2p at Elliott Bay Books.

Madeline died in November, just a few days shy of her 96th birthday. I spent this morning reading various tributes to and interviews with Madeline (find links to many at madelinedefrees.com). I’ll add just a couple of thoughts here, and share one of my all-time favorite DeFrees poems.

Blue DuskMadeline was an essential part of the Seattle poetry community for more than 25 years. She published eight full-length poetry collections, including Blue Dusk: New & Selected Poems, 1951 – 2001 (Copper Canyon Press) which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

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Idaho’s Writer-in-Residence, Diane Raptosh: Elliott Bay Books, March 14

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Poet Diane Raptosh: “everyone I’ll have to live without / I must help to find a place within”

 

I’m delighted to welcome Diane Raptosh, a poet who is currently serving as Idaho’s Writer-in-Residence, to Seattle. We’ll be reading together at Elliott Bay Books on Sat., March 14 at 7p.  To whet your appetite, here’s an untitled poem from her most recent collection, American Amnesiac:

The self is a thousand localities

like a small nation—assembly required: borders and roads,

 

armies, farms, small and large pieces of parchment. I stand by

all the territories I have ever been, even as I can’t

 

remember them. I am a locum—ear to the emperor penguin, a banner ad

blinking to the hoi polloi. Since I’ve become John Doe, I swear

 

I can feel most objects with sixty digits

instead of five. This makes me think

 

of Lisette. Makes me miss her left collar bone. Her hips’ wingtips.

A train moans from a far hummock.

 

Which reminds me that everyone I’ll have to live without

I must help to find a place within. Which is an act

 

of granite will. A strain. A ditty.

An exercise in utmost beautility.

 

from American Amnesiac, by Diane Raptosh

                             (Etruscan Press, 2013)

 

Watch Diane’s TEDxBoise talk: Poetry, Democracy and the Hope of Sounds.