Words

Word Up

The power of poetry

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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 receive a poem. The spare change will add up as the verse is dispersed, and all funds raised through the month of April will be donated to the Whatcom Literacy Council.

Bellingham typically celebrates National Poetry Month in a big way, and this is but one instance of the methods Village Books is using to harness the power of the art form to contribute to humanity. Through the month, the bookstore will continue to host visiting poets and will also take part in a variety of other events with the literary genre in mind.

For example, they’ll be on hand to help sell books at “SpeakEasy 21: Poets Talk Poetry” Sat., April 21 at the Encore Room at the Mount Baker Theatre.

There, seven regional poets—Bruce Beasley, Ramona Elke, Jory Mickelson, Kevin Murphy, Nancy Pagh, Dayna Patterson, and Rena Priest—will reflect on their work, what inspires them when it comes to writing, and why poetry is so important to their lives. The free event is the 21st in an occasional series of “SpeakEasy” gatherings emphasizing themed, audience-friendly presentations of quality poetry, and is open to all.

Days later, the Write Riot Poetry Slam will return to life for one night only. The Wed., April 25 gig takes place next door to Village Books at the Colophon Cafe, and the revived event—which happened monthly at the Honey Moon from 2014-2016—will be led by former host and esteemed local poet Jessica Lohafer.

Signups will start at 6:30pm, and it’s suggested those who want a place to secure a spot on the lineup show up early to do so. (Entry to compete or listen in is free, but the purchase of food, drink and books is encouraged.)

Bellingham native and World Poetry Slam contestant Ryler Dustin will be the featured poet for the evening, and if you like what you hear, join him for an April 30 Chuckanut Writers workshop. He recently returned from an off-grid writing residency, so it’s likely his creative juices are at maximum effectiveness.

Dustin’s new collection, Heavy Lead Birdsong, can be purchased at Village Books, where—like the rest of the nation—sales of poetry doubled in 2017 thanks in part to social-media-savvy author Rupi Kaur’s bestselling collections, Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers.

According to Village Books co-owner Sarah Hutton, the young Indian-Canadian author is inspiring converts to seek out other poets.

But Hutton says poetry isn’t a fad, and Village Books will continue to celebrate scribes even after National Poetry Month has come and gone. 

“It’s interesting to see a trend develop and to see a book like Milk and Honey become a phenomenon,” she says. “But our goal is to connect readers with a lasting love affair with all books, including poetry.”

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Events
Today
Rainbow Reads

3:00pm|Ferndale Library

Cook It and Book It

3:30pm|Lynden Library

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

War Through the Eyes of Women Book Club

6:00pm|Bellingham Vet Center

Peru Novoandina

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Mind-Body-Food Connection

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

WAKE Meeting

6:30pm|Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Center

Beginning Square Dance Lessons

7:00pm|Ten Mile Grange

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

Fancy Bingo

7:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Comedy Open Mic

7:30pm|Shakedown

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Tomorrow
Bellingham at Home Informational Meeting

1:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Endangered Species Curator's Tour

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Prosecutors race is a referendum on reform

6:00pm

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Where the sidewalk ends

7:00pm

Walking to the End of the World

7:00pm|Village Books

Brian Dean Trio

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Climate Change and Forests

7:00pm|Sustainable Living Center

Modified documentary and Panel Discussion

7:30pm|Pickford Film Center

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Thursday
Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Komo Kulshan Ski Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Camber Exhcange

5:30pm|1820 Scout Place

Falling Out of the Box Jewelry Challenge

6:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Squash Celebration

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Chuckanut Radio Hour

6:30pm|Whatcom Community College

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Nooksack River Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Duck Variations

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Skriker

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Side Show

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

see our complete calendar »

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