One of My Favorite Kanji

In English the etymology for poetry is Greek. It comes from “poiesis” meaning maker (kind of boring). Or It comes from the Latin “poeta,” used as a general term for creative literature (amazingly boring).

詩 - shi - poetry
(し – shi) means poem or poetry. Of course I like poetry so automatically I’m a fan of the kanji, but my fondness isn’t as superficial as that. 詩 is 言 and 寺 stuck together. means “say” and means “temple.” It is a beautiful combination.

All things considered, 詩 wins first place in my Best Way to Express the Feeling and Idea of Poetry Prize (also known as the BWEFIPP).

arts, writing

New GlitterPony: Episode 3

Natalie Lyalin and I work on a Poetry Journal called GlitterPony.  Today we put out the third episode of GlitterPony.  It’s been a lot of work both on the design end and on the editorial end, but it is well worth it.

We are both pretty dang excited about the poems and the poets.

If you are at all interested in what contemporary poetry looks like you might want to head over.  I know a lot of people still think poetry is either Robert Frost, slam poetry, or people with berets snapping their fingers, but it isn’t.

There are people doing all sorts of interesting things. I’m not about to go saying that I know what is best, but I know what I like. I think that people today would appreciate poetry more if they saw that people are still doing exciting things with writing— that is to say we aren’t all lame-o’s like Billy Collins.

arts, music, seattle

Weekend of Readings

This weekend I saw not one, but two readings.

The first was actual music, dance, and poetry (in that order). I don’t know what the schedule is for the Apostrophe series, but I know it happens regularly at Gallery 1412 (1412 18th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122) in good ol’ Capital Hill. I like the idea of having three different disciplines coming together for a lot of reasons. For one it gets people who are focused in different arts in the same room (both audience and performers).

This weekend’s Apostrophe wasn’t as good as the last one I saw, but it was good still.  I wasn’t sure about the dance, though it should be said that what I know about dance could barely fill an index card.  The music was just boring to me. It was just a guy on a laptop playing boring loops. If I want see someone working on their computer I’ll put a mirror in front of my desk.  But that isn’t what made it boring, the loops were the culprit.  In amateur opinion I decided that the problem was that the sounds didn’t layer well. They were mostly background— missing some vital foreground to catch my attention. The background was great as a background, but it just couldn’t do all the work.  The only way I could start to get interested was by thinking of the intention (ie. what is the artist saying about background, making background a foreground, etc).  And even then I was only theoretically interested, the music still left me bored. The poetry was nic, nothing ear popping, but nice.

The second reading was at Open Books.  One of my friends read along with another woman who I am not friends with. Clearly I am not impartial, but I can say with honesty & conviction that Monica Fambrough is a great poet and was the better of the two.  Her reading was a high point for the weekend.  Everyone should get her new chapbook Black Beauty.  You can also here her digitalized-over-the-phone-voice at on weird deer (go to the very bottom of the page).


Goodbye Poetry Bus

On Friday I saw the end of what I saw the beginning of. Or put in a nicer way, I saw the last Poetry Bus reading. It was great! The reading was in two parts, the first being a subscriber event (to thank them for their financial support which makes things like the bus tour possible) and the second was open to the greater public. The first reading was shorter and featured the much appreciated open bar, the second reading was longer and featured the much despised cash bar. But that didn’t ruin my fun by even 0.5%

The space needle has two levels, the top one is the one where you are in the disk-looking thing that is visible in the skyline all over the Seattle. The second level is about a third of the way up and while not nearly as high has amazing views nonetheless. Imagine walking out of an elevator and looking out over the bay just as the orange sun is finally falling below the very distant mountains. Beautiful oranges and reds reflecting off the water, the buildings all silhouetted with tiny glowing windows. Mountains in the distance looking almost like ghosts. It was a very nice sight.

The readings happened well after the sun had set but (thanks to light pollution, which is a mixed blessing) there was still a view. It was wonderful to hear all these great poems and have these sox-knocking views all at the same time.

The readers were amazing, I really can’t say anymore than that. Afterwards people hung out on the bus and it was also very great. Bill, the bus driver, played blues on his guitar as people hung out— he also read at the space needle. Apparently Bill’s become a poet himself. That is what I think the poetry bus is all about.

[tags]poetry, poetry bus, space needle, wave books[/tags]

random, seattle

Is it Awesome?

What’s that you ask? Is Open Books awesome?

Well, let me ask you this, is Arrested Development awesome? Is the Flaming Lips documentary Fearless Freaks awesome? Are spicy black bean veggie burgers awesome?

Those are insane questions with a very easy answer. Yes.

Open Books is awesome. It is one of very few book stores that sells only poetry. You read that right. I felt like an idiot in a candy store— a very happy idiot. If you are ever in Seattle and want to get some poetry you have to go there or people will think you are something much worse that an idiot. They have good new, used, and rare books. Best of all the owners John and Christine seem to incredibly nice people.

[tags]book stores, open books, poetry, seattle[/tags]

seattle, whatnot

The Poetry Bus

I arrived in Seattle on Sept 3rd. The Poetry Bus kicked off its 50 day 50 city tour on Sept 4th. My friend Travis departed Seattle on Sept 5th.

poetry bus setup on launch dayThe launch was at Bumbershoot in Seattle right by the Space Needle. It was an amazing day even though my brain was crazy with sleep deprivation. From noon until 4:30pm, every 30 minutes a different poet read for about 15 minutes. The bus was full for every reading, more impressive is that those filling the bus weren’t just poets, at least half the crowd for each reading was just walking by and got interested. It is just great to see people who don’t think about poetry everyday go and listen and enjoy poetry. Anyway, the Poetry Bus is in full swing now and folks should check out the website, not because I designed it, but because there is great content on it.