Tag Archives: poetry

Tacoma’s 2019-2021 Poet Laureate is…

9 Apr

2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate Abby E. Murray.

The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced the selection of Abby E. Murray as Tacoma’s 2019-2021 Poet Laureate. Over the next two years, Murray will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events to advance the literary arts in Tacoma.

“My admiration for the literary arts community in Tacoma is as genuine as my love of home. As a military spouse and poet who’s spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to belong, I want to increase the reach and impact, geographically and socially, of poetry as a survival skill. We are a fragmented nation. I want to help weave us together, one poem at a time.” – Abby E. Murray

Pass the Torch: Tacoma Poet Laureate Celebration

As a wrap-up of National Poetry Month, 2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson and the Tacoma Arts Commission will host Pass the Torch, a poetry and music event at which Murray will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Wednesday, April 24, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., at Tacoma Arts Live, Studio 3 (901 Broadway). Featured poets will include Murray, Richardson, 2015-2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Thy Nguyễn, and emerging poet and University of Washington Tacoma student Byron Gaines II. Light refreshments will be served and attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a hands-on project. Pass the Torch is hosted by Tacoma Arts Live.

About Abby E. Murray

Abby E. Murray is a poet, instructor, editor and activist. She was born in Puyallup, Wash. but spent years moving from state to state with her husband, who is still active duty in the U.S. Army. She recently returned to the Tacoma area when he was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Seattle University, a master of fine arts degree at Pacific University and a doctorate degree at Binghamton University. She also taught creative writing at universities and community colleges in Colorado, Georgia, Washington and New York.

Because Murray identifies as a conflicted pacifist indirectly impacted by military service, her poetry, essays and community endeavors often focus on the lasting ramifications of violent conflict beyond the combat zone. She is the editor of Collateral, a literary journal that publishes creative work exploring this experience, and is passionate about creating platforms to amplify voices of marginalized writers and artists. War reaches into all our lives, she says, which is why she teaches poetry and writing workshops to the public and military families, trauma survivors, and the undocumented and detained. She also teaches creative writing at Tacoma School of the Arts and argumentation to army colonels on fellowship to the University of Washington from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Murray has several chapbooks published, including Quick Draw: Poems from a Soldier’s Wife (2012) and How to be Married After Iraq (2018), and her first full-length collection of poems, Hail and Farewell, recently won the Perugia Press Poetry Prize and will be released in fall 2019. She considers her poetry to be her most tested and trusted survival skill.

About the Tacoma Poet Laureate Program

Information regarding the Tacoma Poet Laureate program, founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church and transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program in 2011, is available at cityoftacoma.org/poet.

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Are you Tacoma’s next Poet Laureate?

10 Jan

2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson performs at the Tacoma Arts Month opening party.

Call to Artists for 2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate

Application Deadline: February 18, 2019, 11:59 pm

Stipend: $4,000

OPPORTUNITY
The Tacoma Arts Commission announces the eighth annual Tacoma Poet Laureate competition, the winner of which will be named Tacoma Poet Laureate for 2019-2021.

The Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for a period of two years, from May 2019 to April 2021, and receive a stipend of $4,000.  The individual will actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects; participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October; and help produce the 2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate is expected to determine the direction, focus, and appropriate public components for their term of service.

In keeping with the City of Tacoma’s Equity and Empowerment Initiative, the Tacoma Poet Laureate should actively strive to engage the breadth of Tacoma’s citizenry, expanding access to the literary arts to underserved/underrepresented audiences including people of different races/ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation and identity, ability, and income.

People who are members of historically disenfranchised racial, ethnic, cultural, and other identity groups are encouraged to apply.

Current Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson will curate and host a poetry event at which the winner of this year’s Poet Laureate competition will be awarded. The event date and location will be announced.

DUTIES
The artist selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate must be willing and able to:

  • Offer a minimum of two free public workshops in Tacoma each year relating to poetry (four workshops total.)
  • Actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications, special projects, etc. as agreed upon with the City’s Arts Office staff.
  • Participate in Tacoma Arts Month programming each October (can be participation in a public event that the City is already producing).
  • Competently handle administrative duties including being the point of contact for all programming inquiries from the public, managing a schedule, arranging details for programs, and coordinating press releases with City’s Arts Office staff.
  • Help produce, with the assistance of the City of Tacoma’s Arts Office, an event in Tacoma in April 2021 to announce the winner of the 2021‐2023 Tacoma Poet Laureate  program.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Applicant must live in Pierce County and be actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community. Staff will verify addresses against official Pierce County map.
  • Applicant must be a practicing artist, dedicated to producing poetry (in any form, genre, or style) on a regular basis.
  • Applicant must be 18 years or older.
  • Applicant cannot be a previous Tacoma Poet Laureate title holder.
  • Applicant cannot be a current Tacoma Arts Commission member, City Council member, City of Tacoma staff member, or Tacoma Poet Laureate selection panel member.

HOW TO APPLY
Visit www.cityoftacoma.org/artsopps for all the details and apply at https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit.

QUESTIONS?
For questions or assistance, please email Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 591-5191.

Introducing the ‘Laureate Listening Project’

24 Jul
Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo. Photo by Jesse Michener

Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo. Photo by Jesse Michener

Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo has partnered with the City of Tacoma and The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation to launch the Laureate Listening Project, an interactive audio anthology website where recorded oral poetry from members of the region will be mapped to provide a permanent record of the lives, ideas, concerns, and celebrations of a diverse community through the vehicle of poetry.

Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage audio map.

Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage audio map.

Are you curious about what an ‘interactive audio anthology website’ looks like? Here’s an example of a similar audio mapping website that highlights endangered languages around the world.

Smiraldo will work with various nonprofit and cultural organizations to encourage people from of all backgrounds to share their poetry about places and spaces in Tacoma and around the world. Audio recordings of these poems, centered on the “spirit of place” theme, will be edited and placed on a Google map website so users can search by a particular poet or location and listen to work inspired by the site. Some recordings will be accompanied by soundscapes and music created by composers and sound artists.

Individuals who are interested in sharing their short spoken works can contact Smiraldo at vanillasoul@clear.net for further information and to schedule a recording session.

Smiraldo is also leading a team of poets as an artist in residence for the Race and Pedagogy National Conference at the University of Puget Sound this September. Poets and other artists will function as creative journalists to document ideas, challenges and solutions to address the topic of education in a dynamic and changing America. He plans to include audio pieces collected from conference participants in the Laureate Listening Project.

Funding for the Laureate Listening Project is made possible by a Spark Grant from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Mapping capability is made possible by the City of Tacoma. The Tacoma Poet Laureate position is appointed and administered by the Tacoma Arts Commission. Information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program is available on the Tacoma Arts Commission website.

PrintThe Greater Tacoma Community Foundation was created to help build a stronger future for the Pierce County region. For over 33 years, the Community Foundation has partnered with generous individuals, families, community leaders, nonprofit organizations and others to strengthen the community through powerful and rewarding giving. Building a thriving, engaged, and caring community is central to its mission. In 2013, the Spark Grants program was launched to provide $1,500 micro-grants to support everyday people who want to spark positive change in their neighborhood. More information is available at gtcf.org/sparkgrants.

Gods, Goddesses, Myth: regional women poets read at TCC

8 Apr

What: Gods, Goddesses, Myth poetry reading
Where: The Gallery at Tacoma Community College, 6501 S. 19th Street, Building 4
When: Friday, April 19, 7 pm
Cost: Free

Join 2011-13 Tacoma Poet Laureate, Josie Emmons Turner on April 19 as she hosts a reading by 14 regional poets on the theme of Gods, Goddesses, and Myth.

According to Turner, the idea for the reading germinated upon seeing the current exhibition, Greek and Roman Mythology, at The Gallery at Tacoma Community College. “The exhibit has such a wide range of artists presenting an extremely diverse spectrum of understanding about an ancient topic. I wanted the opportunity to add the poet’s voice and present another dimension in conjunction with the show,” Turner stated. “I am very excited that such an extraordinary group of poets responded to the idea.”

Participating poets are: Peggy Barnett, Glenna Cook, Julia Cousineau, Caroline Hunter Davis, Maria Gudaitis, Mary Hake, Patricia Kennedy, Patty Kinney, Kay Mullen, Tammy Robacker, Marjorie Rommel, Josie Emmons Turner, Connie Walle, Juniper White, and Carolyne Wright.

This reading will be the last formal presentation of poets by Turner in her position as Poet Laureate. Turner and the incoming 2013-15 Poet Laureate, along with past Poet Laureates Tammy Robacker and William Kupinse will give at reading at the Tacoma Public Library, April 23 at 6 pm.

The Gods, Goddesses, and Myth reading is supported by the Tacoma Arts Commission Poet Laureate Program and the Gallery at Tacoma Community College.

About the poets
Peggy Barrett was born in 1945 and grew up in Queens, New York. After receiving a BA in Fine Arts from The Cooper Union, she opened a photography studio in New York in 1968. In 2006, she sold her studio and moved to Woodinville. Her book, On Your Left! is a poetic memoir dwelling on the specifics of unending change.

Glenna Cook was born in Olympia, Washington, and lived most of her life in Tacoma. After raising her family and retiring from U.S. West Communications, she graduated from Tacoma Community College and University of Puget Sound, which is where she began writing poetry. She has been published in a variety of Northwest journals and reviews.

Juila Cousineau always returns to the beautiful city of Tacoma after her travels and has been a resident here most of her life. She is a published short story and children’s writer and has her own humor column in a local paper. Poetry is fast becoming a new passion of hers.

Caroline Hunter Davis lives near the Salish Sea where she grew up collecting waves and words. The world first made sense when she listened to myths and she’s been listening and writing ever since.

Maria Chong Gudaitis is a Korean-Lithuanian essayist, poet, and designer who lives south of Tacoma. In 2012, Maria published a limited-edition, local Poetry Month anthology and served as a News Tribune reader columnist. Her essays and poetry appear regularly at her blog, www.mairagudaitis.com.

Mary Hake is a 2010 graduate of the Creative Writing Program of the University of Washington, Seattle. She currently divides her time between working with students and raising her three children.

Patricia Kennedy has published poems in online journals, regional anthologies, and at the Washington State History Museum with the encouragement from the Pot Luck Poets and other friends. She is the co-sponsor of the Gig Harbor Library’s Poetry Series.

Patty Kinney’s work has been published by The Sun, hipMama, www.occupypoetry.org and other journals and anthologies. She holds a MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her chapbook How To Talk To Your Schizophrenic Child will be published in 2013.

Kay Mullen’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She believes the poet’s pallette embraces the reality that all ideas come from the five senses. Poetry includes all colors, shades, shadows and light of the human spirit.

Tammy Robacker is former Poet Laureate of Tacoma 2011 and author of  The Vicissitudes. She is currently working on her second collection of poetry Villain Song.

Marjorie Rommel’s work has appeared in numerous regional journals. She is a member of Auburn’s Striped Water Poets and has provided leadership for the South King County literary community for decades. She received her MFA in poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop at PLU.

Josie Emmons Turner is the 2011-2013 Tacoma Poet Laureate and is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop where her mentors included Lola Haskins and Susan Ludvigson. She cherishes the opportunity to have spent two summers of masterclass sessions with Marvin Bell. Turner’s work has been published in a variety of journals.

Connie Walle is a life-long Tacoma poet. She is the founder and president of the legendary Puget Sound Poetry Connection.

Juniper White is a mom, writer, teaching artist, and letterpress printer who cultivates handwork in Northwest communities.

Carolyne Wright has been a contributing editor for the Pushcart Prizes and a senior editor for Lost Horse Press. She is a Seattle native who studied with Elizabeth Bishop, Madeline DeFreees, Richard Hugo, and William Stafford.

Distinguished Poet steps up to the mic

12 Apr
On the second Friday of every month, Puget Sound Poetry Connection hosts the Distinguished Writers Series at which a poet of note reads his or her work. An open mic follows – you can come to listen or contribute. This Friday, Marjorie Rommel takes on the title of Distinguished Poet.

Marjorie Rommel

Marjorie sounds like the kind of person we’re interested in meeting. Just take a look at this bio (courtesy of King’s Bookstore): Marjorie lives in Auburn, 10 blocks from the house she was born to. She has worked as a greasy spoon waitress, camp cook, de facto whistle punk and logging truck driver, newspaper reporter/editor, publicist, university writing instructor, and – briefly – as receptionist for a hypnosis clinic: The kids were hungry.

Her work has appeared in Pontoon, Midwest Poetry Review, Mochila Review, riverbabble, Mr. Cogito, Signal International and other literary magazines, and in several anthologies, including Ghost in the Garden (GodZillah Gospel Press), Voices in the Trees (Jasmine/Evergreen Press 1989), and Jump Start: A Northwest Renaissance Anthology (Steel Toe Books, 2009).

Here’s a sampling of one of Marjorie’s pieces:

The Booming Marsh

The Booming Marsh
is no marsh at all––a wild
meadow where my children
their children & grandchildren flit
like bright birds among mountain
huckleberries, fruit & leaves brilliant
in late summer
––this path is new to me, steep
uncompromising, the children
unseen around & ahead of me; I hear
their shrill laughter––they are very
young again, Anna too: barefoot
toddler in a blue dress
––heedless, they fly above the high
trail that leads across sunlit clearings
to strange martial music: staccato
of seed heads the wind beats
against hollow reeds standing
& fallen
––sound of war
of a hundred dark kettle drums
beating
& beating

Who: Puget Sound Poetry Connection
What: Distinguished Writers Series featuring Marjorie Rommel
When: Friday, April 13, 7 pm
Where: King’s Bookstore, 218 St. Helens Ave, Tacoma
Info: Admission is FREE! Sign up for open mic at 6:30 pm.

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to help support this event through Arts Projects funding.

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