Last Friday, I spent a wonderful night listening to Russian Poetry translated by Jamie Olson, a literary Professor from Saint Martin’s University as part of Puget Sound Poetry Connection’s Distinguished Writer Series.
There were several other local literary artists reading old and new pieces and works of poetry from their books and some had journals or files or just a piece of paper but they were all there for the same reason, to listen contently to the language of poetics.
The Puget Sound Poetry Connection is a small grassroots group, spearheaded by Connie Walle, who has been organizing this cohort of dedicated supporters for 25 years. It is always a full house at King’s Books on the second Friday of each month.
The featured artist, Jamie Olson read several short works of translations of Timur Kibirov’s Greek and Roman Catholic Songs and Nursery Rhymes, which was fascinating because you could hear the rhymes, beats, and patterns in both languages, when he translated the readings from English to Russian and then back to English. To top it all off, he spent extra time to meet and greet with those of us who wished to stay and learn more about his work.
During the Open Mic, there was another standout reading in Chinese and English by a graduate student, Michael Gray, that was touching and one of my favorites.
I think the highlight of the evening for me was the personal homage Olson made to “Dog’ and “Spleen” in English that were so entertaining and unique, you had to marvel and laugh at the same time.
If you love to write poetry or just listen to it, I highly recommend this series. And it’s free to the public! You can check it out next month, on September 12th at King’s Books. I know you will truly enjoy this event — it is worth spending a Friday night in the company of good literary talent. Don’t be shy, bring a poem to read!
What: The Distinguished Writer Series and Open Mic
Where: King’s Books, 218 St. Helens
When: Second Friday of every month, 7 pm
More information: www.pugetsoundpoetryconnection.org, 253.471.8804
The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support the Puget Sound Poetry Connection through Arts Projects funding.
This review was written by Tacoma Arts Commission member Wanda Thompson. Wanda’s involvement with the Tacoma Arts Commission goes back to 1976; in that time she has worked as both a commissioner and staff coordinator. She is a strong advocate for the arts in Tacoma with a desire to help create an active and informed community for artisans, supporters, and appreciators. Wanda’s desire is to help sustain arts education, programs, and projects for our future generations while preserving our history.