poetry

Ashley Gross / KPLU

A maritime festival taking place in Seattle this week is a good reminder of our city’s strong ties to the ocean. Thursday evening, an event called Stories of the Sea takes place at a pub at Fishermen’s Terminal. It’s like a story slam for fishermen, ferry captains and other mariners. 

For a taste of the event, I tracked down emcee John van Amerongen, who pulled out his guitar and sang his song, "Trip to the Bering Sea," a wry tale about a guy on a crabbing boat for the first time. The young man has an unfortunate encounter with the bait chopper, a machine that grinds up fish.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

When Lucas Smiraldo became Tacoma’s poet laureate two years ago, he had the spark of an idea. He wanted to get the people around him writing their own pieces and then share them through an interactive map.

Now it’s ready

Timothy Aguero Photography

After a seven-year hiatus, 4Culture has resurrected the “Poetry on Buses” program. The public art project, funded through Percent-for-Art funds, aims to elevate the ordinary bus commute.

Four buses in King County Metro Transit’s RapidRide fleet will be outfitted entirely with homegrown poetry and no ads. Another 109 buses will feature one poem each. Poems will be featured on select bus shelters. And there’s also a website that offers a new poem every day for the next year.

Florangela Davila

Meet Nathan Cummings, a senior at Mercer Island High School and one of five chosen National Student Poets.

"It's like a crazy fever dream," said Cummings of having been awarded the highest recognition of its kind for young literary minds. 

 The awards are part of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. They're administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Cummings flew to Washington, D.C. last month for the ceremony where he met Joyce Carol Oates and Michelle Obama.

RICHLAND, Wash. – There is a lot written about the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in scientific journals, news articles and government reports. Now there is a book of poetry. The State of Washington’s poet laureate recently released a book of remembrances about her hometown of Richland. It’s called “Plume.”

We’re on the shore of the Columbia River at a Richland park. A flotilla of students, in bright kayaks, paddle against the current.

Kathleen Flenniken has been named Washington State’s Poet Laureate. (Click the listen button to hear her read a poem from her most recent collection).

“This is a dream job — speaking in support of the arts and humanities, and of poetry in particular, getting the chance to organize poetry events around the state, visit schools, reach kids and teachers and remote communities,” said Flenniken.

A.K. Mimi Allin

Is there poetry in homelessness? Poet A.K. Mimi Allin is exploring that question while she lives with Seattle's Ten City homeless encampment this winter.

Allin is in the last few weeks of  her three-month experiment.  In December, she joined about 80 people  who make up Tent City's  current digs in the parking lot of Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in northeast Seattle.