The Humans Behind the Headlines

Yesterday, KUOW featured two stunning poems by Seattle-based poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha. Each, in its own powerful way, carries us past the headlines, beyond the numbers, and reminds us of the very real human beings who are confronted on a daily basis by war and terrorism. I hope you’ll take a few moments to give “Fragment” and “Running Orders” a listen.

Learn more about Lena Khalaf Tuffaha’s work and Broadsided Press.

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Photo by Trocaire from Ireland. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pacific NW Poets Respond to the Fires

Travel writer/photographer Amanda Castleman captured this view of the Alder Lake Fire.
Travel writer/photographer Amanda Castleman captured this view of the Alder Lake Fire.

I forget where I’ve said it out aloud, so forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but here’s what I’m up to: posting a poem every other day until fire season ends. We’ve all been affected by the fires this year, some in life-altering, heartbreaking ways, and others in the form of small inconveniences, changed plans.

Today on KUOW, we aired a couple of fire-related poems by firefighter-turned poet Kevin Goodan and poet/novelist/photographer Nance Van Winckel. I hope you’ll give it a listen. (Big thanks to Allen Braden for introducing me to Kevin Goodan’s work.)

See more of Amanda Castleman’s gorgeous work here.

Kim-An Lieberman and IN ORBIT

Cover of In Orbit

People in the know (and by this I mean small-press publishers,  independent bookstore owners and devoted readers) say that poetry finds its audience one reader (or, I would add, listener) at a time. With new books, it’s mostly up to the poet to take her book from place to place, giving public readings.

One of the great pleasures of my role at KUOW 94.9 — and now as Washington’s poet laureate — is to help connect other poets’  poems to reader/listeners.

Once a month on KUOW, I present the work of a Pacific Northwest poet. This month I featured two poems by the late Kim-An Lieberman, who passed away in December 2013, a few weeks before her tremendous second collection, IN ORBIT, was published by Blue Begonia Press.

You can listen online. I hope you will. These poems resonate with each re-reading, each re-hearing.

Jack Straw will host a reading of Kim-An’s poems in Seattle on May 4, at 2p. I’ll post more information about that as it becomes available.