Puget Sound English Department

April 11, 2011

Poetry on Vashon for Memorial Day

Department faculty recently received this invitation to what sounds like a wonderful event:

April 4th, 2011

Greetings & Happy National Poetry Month!

I’d like to cordially invite you and your students to attend the second biannual weekend-long poetry festival happening Memorial Day weekend, May 27th-30th!

Two years ago, under the leadership of Ron Irvine, owner of the Vashon Winery, we held the first Poetry Fest. The 2009 Festival was highly successful—Sam Green, then poet-Laureate of Washington State, was the featured poet, and stayed through the weekend to offer a workshop and participate in an ‘open mike’ event blending Island and off-Island poets. With him we had a strong range of performers/presenters and well-attended workshops over the weekend of Memorial Day.

Our overall theme/title for the weekend is ‘A Passport to Poetry’ to point to poetry’s power to cross and erase borders and boundaries. Everyone attending the readings and workshops will hold a passport (which we are designing).

Our mission is to bring to Vashon Island from our Northwest region an ongoing, shifting kaleidoscope of poetic styles and voices, bringing the full energy and force of poetic imagination and language to life in our community.

Sam Hamill and Tess Gallagher are our two featured poets who will be attending the festival along with numerous other talented writers. The three-day weekend will consist of many incredible workshops, seminars, and performances.

Times of events, restaurants, and accommodations are available at the Poetry Fest website or you can drop us an email @ info@vashonpoetryfest.com

We look forward to sharing the power of poetry with you, your friends, and family!


Mel Michaels (PR) & Vashon Poetry Fest

April 6, 2011

There are months, and then there are months

If April is, as Eliot famously notes, “the cruelest month,” it is also, perhaps in compensation for nature’s vagaries, National Poetry month. Today, local NPR affiliate KUOW featured conversation about poetry with former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and local poet Elizabeth Austen. It’s well worth a listen, especially their discussion of ambiguity as the thing that frustrates novice readers but provides the richness and complexity that characterize mature poetry and reward careful scrutiny; Austen pointed out that excessive emotional “clarity” is the hallmark not of poetry, but of sentimentalism.

In other poetic news, local poet and teacher Josie Emmons Turner will be inaugurated as Tacoma’s next Poet Laureate in a free public ceremony and reading on April 28, 2011, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Bellaballs, 747 S. Fawcett St., Tacoma.

Emmons Turner’s two-year term follows those of William Kupinse, Antonio Edwards Jr., and Tammy Robacker. More information on the Poet Laureate program can be found at TacomaCulture.

April 5, 2011

Emerging Stories of the Puget Sound

According to KOMO News, Kali Kucera is attempting to evoke and preserve what he describes as “fantastilicious” tales of South Sound folklore. PapaKali, Kucera’s website, solicits and provides exposure for local lore and legends, and aims to practice old-style community, built around shared tales, through 21st-century media.

March 23, 2011

Internship in the City of Destiny!

Filed under: Activities off Campus — ATH @ 12:23 pm

Thanks to Rose Thompson for alerting us to this internship in communications for a current student or recent grad. It’s unpaid, but requires only a few hours a week and offers experience in a variety of communications and PR areas. Contact information is included below!

ORGANIZATION: City Club of Tacoma

POSITION: Communications Intern


City Club of Tacoma is seeking a smart, organized, energetic person with strong writing, communications and social media skills to assist and help lead our communications committee. This internship offers an excellent opportunity for a talented student to gain public relations and journalism experience while building relationships with Pierce County media, community and legislative contacts.

The Communications Intern will work closely with City Club of Tacoma’s leadership team to develop annual plans and provide support for City Club’s mission and objectives.

Internship Responsibilities:
– Write and distribute press releases.
– Update online calendars and postings with current events and activities.
– Increase City Club of Tacoma’s visibility and membership by using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
– Update and maintain City Club of Tacoma’s database of media and community contacts.
– Other responsibilities depending on our current campaigns.

This position will be unpaid, part time ( three to five hours per week) for six months. The internship will be based at City Club of Tacoma’s downtown offices, but the majority of work will be conducted virtually. As part of an incentive, we can offer free attendance to City Club programs for the duration of the internship.


Desired Qualifications and Abilities:
– Student or recent graduate with major in public relations, journalism or related fields.
– Excellent written and oral communication skills.
– Creative thinker.
– Excellent initiative and ability to organize and keep deadlines with minimal oversight.
– Keen attention to detail when proofreading, copyediting and fact-checking.
– Ability to be flexible, positive, take initiative, and demonstrate good judgment.
– Consistent and reliable follow-through on commitments.
– Public relations experience or abilities.
– Professionalism.


Please contact Erik Hanberg at erik@cityclubtacoma.org for more information or to apply.

February 28, 2011

Local Writing Internship

Exit133, a local blog and source for all things Tacoma, is seeking writer-interns for a new ongoing feature, Tacoma Arts in Review. If you have an affinity for the arts, an affection for our “City of Destiny,” and are a current student, you are welcome to apply. Applications are still open and accepted on a rolling basis. See link above for further information and application requirements for these positions, including specific samples of written work, and good luck!

February 18, 2011

Goings on at the UP Library

Filed under: Activities off Campus,Readings — ATH @ 11:06 am
Tags: , ,

The University Place Pierce County Library recently reopened at 3609 Market Pl. West, after a lengthy renovation. The library now has 3000 square feet of additional space. They are celebrating with a series of events featuring best-selling authors. All events are held at the library, and are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by Friends of the University Place Library and Pierce County Library Foundation.

Books by the featured authors can be purchased at the events from Tacoma’s illustrious King’s Books. A portion of the proceeds will go to the University Place Library Campaign, which has been raising funds from individuals and organizations to add innovative features and technology to the new library.

Saturday, Feb. 19, 3 p.m.
Mystery writer Mary Daheim has written 27 books in the Bed-and-Breakfast series, and the 22nd book in her Emma Lord series will be published in March.

Saturday, Feb. 26, 3 p.m.
Fantasy author Terry Brooks has published dozens of novels, including three series: Word & Void, Landover, and Shannara.

There will also be a Family Concert, on Saturday, Feb. 26, 10:30 a.m.
Award-winning musician Aaron Nigel Smith will have the whole family dancing and singing along with his fun, inspired and lively show. Music CDs will be available for sale.

November 2, 2010

First Book Poetry Contest Winner/Book Release Event Nov. 15

Professor Kupinse forwards the following announcement regarding Exquisite Disarray Publishing, a nonprofit Tacoma press he helped to found. Note that the book release event will take place on Monday, November 15–details below. From the press release:

What Other Choice, Jeremy Halinen’s Debut Book of Poems
Named as Winner of the Exquisite Disarray 2010 First Book Poetry Contest

Tacoma, Wash. – What Other Choice, a poetry collection by Washington State writer Jeremy Halinen, has been selected by Exquisite Disarray Publishing as the winner of its 2010 First Book Poetry Contest.

Exquisite Disarray will publish What Other Choice in November 2010 and showcase Halinen’s work at a reading to be held Monday, November 15 at 7 p.m. in the Olympic Room of the Tacoma Public Library’s main branch, at 1102 Tacoma Avenue South, as part of the Tacoma’s Art at Work Month. The November 15 event, which is free and open to the public, will also recognize the runners-up in the First Book Poetry Contest and announce the winner of a separate “Best Tacoma Poem” Contest.

Describing What Other Choice as “eerily elegant” and possessed of a “beautifully tuned voice,” guest contest judge Kathleen Flenniken selected Halinen’s collection from nine manuscripts forwarded by Exquisite Disarray’s editorial board. Flenniken, herself the author of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize winner Famous and president of Floating Bridge Press, said that Halinen is “a poet who makes me see beauty where I didn’t expect it, not by overlooking ugliness or despair, but by being faithful to it.”

“Since this was the first year of our contest, we were delighted to have such a strong showing of manuscript submissions,” said William Kupinse, president of Exquisite Disarray, a local nonprofit press. The contest was open to all poets residing in Washington State who had not yet published a full-length volume of poetry.

About the poet: Jeremy Halinen was raised in Tacoma, earned an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Washington University and holds a BFA in creative writing from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He now resides in Seattle, where he is coeditor and cofounder of Knockout Literary Magazine.

Two poems from Jeremy Halinen’s Debut Collection, What Other Choice

Afternoons above I-5

We used to drop acid
and sit on the overpass
to watch the dragon faces
the cars would make at us
as they raced
beneath our dangling legs.
Cars like it when you’re high enough
above them to notice
more than their surfaces.
It’s the story of their exhaust
they want you to care about,
not their paint jobs
or the treads
on their tires. They want you to lean down
and touch them.
I know what you’re thinking.
It’s dangerous,
what we used to do. But
the cars told us they’d catch us if we fell.
You say, So what if they did?
And you’re right.
There’s always a catch.

Copyright © 2010 Jeremy Halinen

A Brief History of Heavy Petting

It started in the cold, one boy
attempting to pay back another
a debt he thought he owed.

Intended only as a transfer
of heat, it listed soon
into the ark they’d been

waiting for. Deep in the cave
that night, far from the bark
of the moon, both knew it.

This was long before the dawn
of fiction, before their newfound
fortune could be called trespass

or transgression.
They are not alone.

Copyright © 2010 Jeremy Halinen

September 21, 2010

Reminders: Two Thursday evening events with our faculty!

Two essential reminders for your calendars:

1. This Thursday, September 23, please join us in Trimble Forum, where Professor Laurie Frankel will be featured at our informal coffeehouse event. Rumor has it she will be leading a conversation about the publication of her novel, The Atlas of Love, in light of recent media attention on the perhaps unconscious biases toward male authors. Bring your questions and comments, buy a copy of her book and have it signed, nibble a brownie or two. 5:30-7 p.m.

2. The following Thursday, September 30, at 7 p.m., Professor Bill Kupinse will read his work at
Gig Harbor Library (4423 Point Fosdick Dr NW, Gig Harbor, 253-851-3793) as part of the Peninsula Library Poetry Series. Professor Kupinse says, “I’ll be reading older poems from my book Fallow, but also sharing some new work from an in-process verse reinterpretation of The Tower Treasure, the first book in the Hardy Boys series. As anyone who has read the 1927 adventure book knows, The Tower Treasure really is a poem trapped in novel form; my goal is to let it out. Yes, I have my fingers crossed that I’ll attract an eventual lawsuit from Hardy Boys publishers Grosset and Dunlap, now a subsidiary of Pearson; it’s always nice to be noticed.”

Looking ahead, Professor Julie Christoph will be featured at the next “Coffeehouse” Conversation: Monday, October 7, 2010. We’ll keep you updated.

September 8, 2010

Jonathan Franzen at Benaroya: September 14

Professor Bev Conner alerts us that there are still single tickets available for American novelist Jonathan Franzen, the lead speaker in the popular and esteemed “Seattle Arts and Lectures” series for this year. Franzen will be speaking “On Autobiography and Fiction-Writing.” Best known for his ambitious 2001 novel The Corrections, which he claimed would–or should–reinvigorate the tradition of the Great American Literary Novel, and for the dust-up in which he rejected his selection by Oprah’s book club (and, presumably, his chance to earn the literary equivalent of the Platinum Record), Franzen is a controversial but undeniably talented author, and his most recent novel, Freedom (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010, $28) has garnered some impressive reviews (see, for example, the ubiquitous Michiko Kakutani’s review in The New York Times, here).

Tickets appear to start at $15, and can be purchased from the online Box Office.

September 7, 2010

Tacoma: Destination for the Arts

Part of Tacoma’s ongoing renaissance involves a strong commitment to the arts–especially efforts to promote and attract independent artists of all kinds to this area. Tacoma’s affordable rents, vibrant youth culture, and a city government that actively endorses arts endeavors, all add up to a city increasingly noteworthy for its growing art scene. To name only a very few bright spots among many, we have the third Thursday Artwalk with free museum admission and open galleries, the recent Spaceworks exhibits, which make use of empty storefronts, TAM’s outstanding programming, and small independent art and letterpresses like Beautiful Angle and Anagram Press.

Many of our faculty are leaders in local arts culture, including Professor and former Tacoma Poet Laureate Bill Kupinse, who send us this update about his not-for-profit literary press, Exquisite Disarray Publishing, created in 2009.

Professor Kupinse writes,

Initially created to publish In Tahoma’s Shadow, an anthology of Tacoma-area poets, Exquisite Disarray is in the process of judging the entries for its first-book contest. (Sorry poets: our reading period for the contest is now closed, though we do hope to run it again next year). Supported by a grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission, the first book contest will allow a previously unpublished Washington State poet to see his or her first book in print. We’ll host a book launch Monday November 15, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the downtown branch of the Tacoma Public library, which will feature a reading and book signing by the winning poet; there will also be an award given for “best Tacoma poem” and some free book giveaways. For more details about Exquisite Disarray, check out our website (www.exquisitedisarray.org) or join our Facebook group.

We’re eager to see the results of this contest, and wish Exquisite Disarray and long and productive existence. And if we’ve inadvertently overlooked your favorite Tacoma arts organization, larger or small, feel free to email us an update for inclusion here!

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