Words

Worlds of Words

Skagit River Poetry Festival

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

When Daemond Arrindell leads a “Found Poetry” workshop at the tail end of the Skagit River Poetry Festival, it’ll be with an emphasis on finding creative wordplay where you least expect it—whether it’s in a science textbook, on billboards, in pop music, Yelp reviews, or in the form on graffiti on an alley wall.

Arrindell’s subject matter is fitting, as the ninth biennial extravaganza taking place May 19-22 at various venues throughout La Conner makes it easier than usual to uncover word-related wisdom. From one-on-one consultations with writers to workshops, poetry readings, mixers and more, those who visit the picturesque locale will soon discover that if it’s vivacious verse they’re after, they’ve come to the right place.

“The festival turns La Conner into a town filled with poetry—from its churches to its museums, its community center, and its bed and breakfasts,” poet Susan Rich says. “Where else can a person sleep, eat, live and breathe poetry for a spring weekend?”

If you choose to immerse yourself in the entirety of the Skagit River Poetry Festival—which is the capstone of the Skagit River Poetry Foundation’s lofty goal to bring poets to classrooms more than 120 days each year—you’ll want to arrive by 5:30pm Thursday and make your way to Maple Hall for a Poet’s Soiree, where you can mix and mingle with festival poets, sip wine and enjoy locally sourced hors d’oeuvres.

From there, zip over to the La Conner Elementary School auditorium for a “Wake Up! Speak Out” program. At the energizing event, a handful of celebrated spoken word poets such as World Poetry Slam alum Jeanann Verlee, Detroit-based poet and filmmaker Jamaal May, American-Bangladeshi poet and educator Tarfia Faizullah, Seattle Poetry Slam curator Daemond Arrindell, and Seattle Grand Slam champion Matt Gano will challenge and provoke audiences with new poetic ideas and forms.

On Friday and Saturday, the fun continues with poetry samplers, panel discussions, student events and “A Gathering of Voices,” which will see all of the festival poets be given two minutes to read one of their poems.

While Pacific Northwest wordsmiths such as Tim McNulty, Kevin Craft, Lorraine Ferra, Norman Fischer, Paul Hansen (who actually lives in La Conner), Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, Kevin Craft, and Martha Silano will be represented, the lineup also includes some of the most diverse names in poetry.

Among those visiting from afar are four-time Pushcart Prize winner Naomi Shibab Nye, Chicana poet Lorna Dee Cervantes, former pro basketball player and Mojave Indian tribal member Natalie Diaz, aforementioned scribes Tarfia Faizullah and Jamaal May, Japanese-American poet Garrett Hongo, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Canadian writer and philospher Jan Zwicky.

By the time Sunday rolls around, you may be tempted to sleep in late and skip the final day of the festival. That would be a mistake, as it’s a chance for writers of all abilities to hone their own talents by learning from those who’ve achieved success in the field.

Whether you sign up for Arrindell’s previously mentioned “Found Poetry” primer, Kasey Jueds’ “Poetry and Silence” workshop, McNulty’s “Coaxing Poems from Nature” or one of the other classes offered, it’s a time to ponder the particulars of how words work—and what you need to do to make them work. If you’re up to the challenge, then hie thee to La Conner.

Smoking Crow
More Words...
Word Up
The power of poetry

Those who prefer candy over creative wordplay will be out of luck when they plunk a quarter into a new contraption located at Fairhaven’s Village Books.

Instead of something sweet to chew on, people contributing their 25 cents to the Poetry Gumball Machine will instead spin a wheel to…

more »
Shrill
Lindy West is living out loud

The word “shrill,” evocative and onomatopoetic, conjures high-pitched, grating voices. It’s used derogatorily, and it’s often aimed at women.

Author Lindy West re-appropriates it in her book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, a memoir that’s as funny as it is poignant. West is a…

more »
Mary's Mysteries
A pioneer woman of Skagit County

Even though she started writing years before her British counterpart, popular mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart was often referred to as “America’s Agatha Christie.” But Rinehart was much more than a writer. She traveled the world, started her own publishing company, was a war…

more »
Events
Today
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Free Appliance Pick-up

10:00am|Whatcom County

Open House Garden Party

12:00pm|Bakerview Road

Hir

7:30pm|DUG Theater

Community Action Poverty Simulations

6:00pm|Cornwall Church

Opera Studio Performances

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am| Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Lynden Book Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Bellingham Beer Week

10:00am|Throughout Bellingham

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Kimono Reception

1:00pm|Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Race to Alaska

6:30pm|Firehouse PAC

Always...Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

Skagit Jazz Night

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Adrian Legg

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

North Cascades Concert Band

7:30pm|Bellingham, Arlington, Anacortes

Legends and Brawls

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove Web
Tomorrow
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Free Appliance Pick-up

10:00am|Whatcom County

Hir

7:30pm|DUG Theater

9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Opera Studio Performances

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Lynden Book Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Bellingham Beer Week

10:00am|Throughout Bellingham

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Always...Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

North Cascades Concert Band

7:30pm|Bellingham, Arlington, Anacortes

Legends and Brawls

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Plant Society Field Trip

8:30am|Veder Mountain

3 Cs Plant Sale

9:00am|3 Cs Farms

Earth Day Planting

9:00am|NSEA Nursery

Ferndale City Wide Cleanup

9:00am|Downtown Ferndale

Planting Day

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Fun with the Fuzz

9:00am|Bellingham Police Department

FutureFest

9:30am|Port Transit Shed Event Center

Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament

9:30am|Bellingham Sportsplex

Earth Day Celebration

10:00am|Edgewater Park

Voting, the Heart of Democracy

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Ponds and Water Features

10:00am|Blaine Library

Community Art Museum Day

10:00am|Whatcom Museum

Arch of Healing Installation Ceremony

10:30am| Bellingham City Hall

Veggie Gardening 101

2:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Healthy Kids Day

2:00pm|Bellingham YMCA

Poetry Circle

3:00pm|Deming Library

Roller Betties Bout

5:00pm|Whatcom Community College

Winterhouse

6:00pm|Village Books

Speakeasy 21

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Rainbow Alliance Drag Show

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Who will wear the crown?

7:00pm

Blackthorn Band

7:00pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Nepal Trek Talk

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Songs from the Universe

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Brigid Collins Benefit Concert

8:00pm|Walton Theatre

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web
Sunday
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Free Appliance Pick-up

10:00am|Whatcom County

9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Opera Studio Performances

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Bellingham Beer Week

10:00am|Throughout Bellingham

Lynden Book Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

North Cascades Concert Band

7:30pm|Bellingham, Arlington, Anacortes

3 Cs Plant Sale

9:00am|3 Cs Farms

FutureFest

9:30am|Port Transit Shed Event Center

Dirty Dan Harris Festival

10:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

Earth Day Work Party

11:00am|Viva Farms

Pottery Demos

12:00pm|Good Earth Pottery

Choo Choo Soul

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Utopia Earth Day

1:00pm|Utopian Conservation Area

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Chuckanut Chili Cook-off

1:30pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Rambling Unicorn

3:00pm|Everson Library

Seeing Pink

4:00pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

Crowder

7:00pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Pink Martini

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Take Me to Church

8:00pm|Rumors Cabaret

see our complete calendar »

Village Books Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1