Writers Resist, and other antidotes to despair


It’s been a long while and a wrenching turn of history’s wheel since my last post here. In the wee hours of election night, I channeled my grief into sharing poems by Lucille Clifton, Denise Levertov, Tim Seibles, Anna Akhmatova and others on Facebook. I need to feel connected to the larger human story in order not to despair, and poems help me do that. So, in that spirit, I offer you this list of recommended poetry events, and a little update on what I’m doing.

Jan. 15: The Writers Resist movement kicks off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with more than 80 events around the world, from small towns to major urban hubs like Hong Kong and London, to defend the ideals of a free, just and compassionate democracy.

Here in Washington state, Writers Resist readings will take place on Jan. 15 in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Bellingham, Bainbridge Island, Ellensburg, Spokane, Port Townsend and Goldendale, to name a few.

At Seattle’s event at Town Hall, 14 writers will celebrate American ideals of freedom and equality by reading excerpts from their own work and the writings of other American thinkers concerned with freedom of speech.

Participating writers include:

Daniel James Brown (The Boys in the Boat)
G. Willow Wilson (The Butterfly Mosque)
Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins)
Elissa Washuta (My Body is a Book of Rules)
Robert Lashley (The Homeboy Songs)
Jane Wong (Overpour)
Samuel Ligon (Wonderland)
Kristen Millares Young (prize-winning journalist and fiction writer)
Bruce Barcott (Weed The People)
Imani Sims (performance poet)
David Laskin (The Children’s Blizzard)
Claudia Castro Luna (This City, Seattle’s Civic Poet)
Tod Marshall (Bugle, Washington State Poet Laureate)
Angel Gardner (Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate)

The ACLU of Washington will present a brief history of free speech and will be present to accept donations at the reception after the reading.

Feb. 7Ross Gay at McCaw Hall for Seattle Arts and Lectures. Here’s one, must-read poem from Ross Gay: “A Small Needful Fact.”  Ticket info here.

This year I’m doing a few performances and workshops, but am mostly focused on writing new poems:

  • Feb. 9 at 8a: Klavano Grand Rounds Lecture at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Writing Our Way Toward Wholeness and Awareness: Poetry and Guided Journaling for Patients and Providers. Co-presenting with Julie Arguez, MSW.
  • Feb. 23 to 25: I’ll be reading contemporary love poetry (including a little of my own) following performances of When Love Speaks at Taproot’s Isaac Studio Theatre. (I performed in When Love Speaks way back in 1994, in my other life as an actor.)  The show runs Feb. 9 to 25; each performance will be followed by a short reading of contemporary love poems by local poets including Lena Khalaf Tuffaha and Peter Pereira.

Lots of workshops and classes to recommend:

There’s even more happening at Open BooksHugo House and Elliott Bay Books. Find weekly recommendations, writing prompts, and poems by Poet in Residence Elisa Chavez at The Seattle Review of Books.

Yours in poetry, yours in active hope—


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