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Holly Hughes & Bethany Reid

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels

On Thursday, 15 October 2020, Edmonds Bookshop is hosting a virtual reading with poet Holly Hughes, me, and moderator David Brewster. I would love to have you join us!

Click on the link (above) to go to their Events page, where you’ll be redirected to Facebook.

If you are looking for any of my books, Edmonds Bookshop has signed copies of Sparrow (2012), Body My House (2018),and Ravenna Press’s Triple No. 10 (2020),which includes my chapbook, “The Thing with Feathers.”

Here’s a sample from the chapbook:

Like Emily, She Hears a Buzz

Maybe I did hear a fly buzz
but I hadn’t died.
I wasn’t dressed in white.
I never said “I do.” 

So if a fly buzzed, what
stopped me from buzzing, too,
zipping right out that window?

I don’t think I was a fly–

I was all in black and gold
like a bee or a queen.
Everyone bowed and buzzed
as I passed by. 

 

 

National Poetry Month

I had two big deadlines over the last week — and I slid in under the wire on each of them. I had a personal goal to submit my mystery novel to PNWA, deadline March 29, and who knows how good my entry was but I put everything into it, I took a deep breath, and I hit “send.”

On Monday, April 1, my work was due for the Creative Nonfiction class I (foolishly) enrolled in back in December. (Was it foolish? Didn’t it help me keep writing in spite of all obstacles?) The assignments challenged me, and they included updating my CV and creating a “list of works” that forced me to take a look at what I’ve accomplished over my writing career and reassess my submissions process. I won’t even try to update you on everything else I’ve had going on.

It took everything I had to get these two items off my desk. I felt proud of myself. And I’m exhausted. Late on Monday I bought flowers for my containers on my back deck and I spent Tuesday afternoon digging in the dirt.

Usually I have an April — National Poetry Month — blog project, but not this year. What I DO have are two readings:

The first is Monday, 8 April, 1:30 p.m., at the Rexville Grange Art Show. I’ll be reading with other members of the Writing Lab and in addition to seeing local artists and art — and tulips — we would love to see you there. Refreshments provided.

The second reading is Saturday, 13 April, noon, at Edmonds Bookshop,  where I’ll be reading with Port Angeles poet, Karen Whalley. The author of The Rented Violin (Ausable Press, 2003) and My Own Name Seems Strange to Me (Off the Grid, 2019), Karen is not only my dear friend, but an extraordinary poet, and I can’t wait to hear her read from her new book.

 

Northwest Greats

currantWhen I visited Edmonds Bookshop for my reading last week, I was inspired by a couple of things. First, I am almost certain that it was something I saw there (on the website? on a poster?) suggesting I plant a northwest shrub in honor of northwesterner and writer Ivan Doig, who died on April 9. So this weekend I bought a blossoming currant. (And snapped a picture for you.)

A second northwest impulse inspired by the bookshop — while browsing their poetry shelves, I found Robert Michael Pyle‘s Evolution of the Genus Iris. And even though I seriously do not need to buy any more books (!) I bought it. Here’s a poem for spring. And peace.

PINK PAVEMENTS

How the sidewalks flush and run
when cherries, crabs, and apples shed
their petal pelts. How exploded
blossoms soften concrete and stone.

In Colorado, nights before track meets,
I walked and walked, dreaming of Olympus,
holding in the exhalations of Hopa crabs
that lined our streets. Next day, the same cold
wind that always blew my discus down too soon
would strew the streets with pale pink disks.

In Cambridge, cherry blossoms daubed
the rosy fronts of colleges, scented stale
doorways of pubs. Memories of winter on harsh
fen breath stripped set fruits of flower, laid
pink silk over ancient pavements, lifting skirts
and dressing lanes in time for the May Balls.

Even now, when hard spring wind unclothes
the cherries in town and crabapples thicken
the night air, I feel the blunt rim of the discus
on my fingers, the cool rim of the pint on my lips.
And I think, as yet another April whiles itself
away in war,

how the pavements of Baghdad must go pink,
spattered with the petals of peaches and plums,
when the car bombs burst. How blossoms
soften exploded concrete and bone.

Reading at Edmonds Bookshop, tonight!

This evening at Edmonds Bookshop, at 6:30, I will be reading with four other northwest poets (click here to see the list), including my friend, Bellingham poet Jennifer Bullis.

This morning, sitting in bright sunlight under a row of (I think) Acacia trees, I reread Jennifer’s book Impossible Lessons (see a review, here), and tried to choose just one to share. It is a rich book — mythology, horses, babies, birds — and I happily recommend the whole of it to you. But here, just in case you have any questions, her poem, “The Answer.”

THE ANSWER

After the windstorm, a pileated woodpecker
works the dead trunk of a newly leaning maple.

He pulls his scarlet-crested head back
the full length of his black and white body

with each pounding stroke of his beak,
scattering moss, bark, bits of rotted wood

on the forest floor. I want to know
why his head is shaped like an anvil

and why he is fated to hammer
for his food. I want to know why

this particular maple snag has lost its footing
among so many of its neighbors.

I crave a sound rationale as to how
this one, of all of them, was singled out

by the beetles and fungi that killed it
in the first place. But I learn nothing

except by the woodpecker’s breaking off
his analysis of the tree and flashing past

all my questioning, the red crest of his head
a sweet and vivid and impossible lesson.