Words

Word Up

A week of poetry

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

In any given week, Bellingham plays host to a variety of events related to poetry—whether it’s readings by locally or nationally known scribes, open mics or a slew of contests related to the written word. This week is no different. Read on for a few suggestions about how you can get involved.

If you’re scrolling through this paragraph on the day of our newspaper’s publication, there’s still time to be in the audience when the winners of Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center’s annual peaceful poetry contest read their selections. The Youth Peace Poetry Reading starts at 7pm Wed., Dec. 6 at Village Books, and will feature 10 poems about peace and understanding written and read by Whatcom County youth, as well as four award-winning poems from this year’s contest. If you need a distraction from the latest news cycle or just want to feel hopeful about the dreams of the next generation, come support the students—and be entertained as well. More info: http://www.whatcomdrc.org

Wednesday is also the day those in charge of the Poem Booth will begin their latest Kickstarter campaign. Last December, local poets Shannon Laws and Summer Starr, and visual artist Christen Mattix, asked for donations to help turn the abandoned phone booth in front of downtown Bellingham’s Community Food Co-op into a kiosk of creativity. They hit their modest goal, and soon enough turned a sticker- and graffiti-covered cubicle into an eye-catching poetry display. Every few months, new works by poets representing a variety of cultural backgrounds and perspectives are switched out, giving passersby a reason to stop and look for a little inspiration in their day (the current poem, Jory Mickelson’s “Divination,” was recently added and will be on display through the end of February). This year, organizers hope to raise $500 through their month-long Kickstarter for an annual chapbook that features the winners and honorable mentions through the year, a poetry reading event and a new paint job for the booth. They’d love your support to help make it happen. More info: http://www.poembooth.weebly.com

Although it’s been around for more than 15 years and has made its home everywhere from the old Stuart’s Coffee House to its current locale in the lower floor of the Bellingham Public Library—with more than a few venues in between—it still bears repeating that the longtime literary juggernaut known as poetrynight is well worth giving up your Monday nights for. Why? Well, for one thing, the double-winner of the Mayor’s Arts Award is about as inclusive a spot for sharing poetry you’ll find, well, just about anywhere. But it’s more than a place for new and established writers’ work to be highlighted. It’s also a space where, if you wish, you can just come and listen—and maybe laugh, and possibly cry, and perhaps gain the courage to one day share words of your own. As the late Jack McCarthy noted, poetrynight is the “best open mic on the West Coast.” Go and find out for yourself. More info: http://www.poetrynight.org

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Boating Center Open

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