WordsWest Literary Series 15 - "At Home in Poetry" with Claudia Castro Luna and Oliver de la Paz / Favorite Poem by Annie Von Essen of Vessel Consulting
On March 16, 2016, WordsWest hosted Seattle Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna and award-winning poet Oliver de la Paz for an evening that explored the many meanings of home, immigration, dislocation, and memory. Annie Von Essen of Vessel Consulting presented her Favorite Poem: "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver. The evening was curated by poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, and was partially funded by Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Poets & Writers, Inc. Below is a short YouTube video excerpt of the evening and a podcast of the whole presentation, including a Q & A and Favorite Poem.
WordsWest Literary Series 14 - "Love Lost and Found (and Lost Again)" with Kathleen Flenniken and Stephanie Kallos / Sponsorship by Hedgebrook, a women's writing retreat / Favorite Poem by Hedgebrook Alumna Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
On February 17, 2016, WordsWest Literary Series presented "Love Lost and Found (and Lost Again)" with former Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken and bestselling/award-winning novelist Stephanie Kallos. Kathleen shared poems that explored, alongside other questions, the daily fluctuations of love found in married life. Stephanie shared the early courtship moments of a relationship that later drifted away from the protagonist of her novel Language Arts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015). Hedgebrook, a writing retreat for women, sponsored the evening. Hedgebrook alumna Lena Khalaf Tuffaha shared her favorite poem, "Precious" by Suheir Hammad. Below is a short YouTube video excerpt of the evening and a podcast of the whole presentation, including a Q & A.
WordsWest Literary Series 13 - "Resolutions Gone Awry" with Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall / Sponsorship and Favorite Poem by Isthmus
On January 20, 2016, WordsWest Literary Series presented "Resolutions Gone Awry" with award-winning poets Christine Deavel and J.W. (John) Marshall (who also happen to be the married, co-proprietors of Open Books: A Poem Emporium). Here are excerpts from the evening. Sponsoring the evening was Isthmus, a West Seattle-based literary journal. The Favorite Poem was "Around Us" by Marvin Bell, presented by Ann Przyzycki, Editor-in-Chief of Isthmus.
Below are (1) a YouTube video excerpt of the evening---Christine and John opening with reading Emily Dickinson then reading new poems based on the event's theme; and (2) podcast audio tracks of the entire evening. Enjoy!
On November 18, 2015, WordsWest Literary Series presented "Seeking What Nourishes" with memoirist and novelist Allison Green and awarding winning poet Hannah Faith Notess. Presenting a Favorite Poem was Jean Manwaring of West Seattle Food Bank, and all proceeds from the donated desserts benefited West Seattle Food Bank.
Below are a YouTube video excerpt of the evening and the podcast audio of the entire night.
WordsWest Literary Series 11 - Writing Meant to Be Heard (Literally) with Ruby de Luna and Stephanie Timm
On October 21, 2015, WordsWest Literary Series hosted a unique, literary presentation. Radio journalist Ruby de Luna of Seattle NPR affiliate KUOW and award-winning playwright Stephanie Timm shared work and explored the craft of writing pieces that are meant to be spoken. Ruby illustrated the diverse voices and aural textures involved in telling stories about Africans and African Americans with cancer, reasons why men don't see doctors, and how her father's newfound interest in cooking drove her mother away. Stephanie illustrated the immense power of dialogue by presenting Secondhand Dress, a 10-minute play about an encounter at a bus stop between a woman wearing a dress purchased from a thrift store and the man whose deceased girlfriend once owned it. She then invited audience members to create their own two-person dialogues in a captivating writing exercise. Carolyn Elliott of Elliott Salon shared her favorite poem: "The Fake Friends" by Dorothy Parker.
Below are the links to the YouTube video and podcast audio of the evening. Enjoy!
WordsWest Literary Series 10 - New Beginnings: At Sea and on Land with Nicole Hardy and Jourdan Imani Keith / Favorite Poem by Peter Moores of C & P Coffee Co.
On September 16, 2015, WordsWest Literary Series kicked off Year 2 by hosting writers/poets Nicole Hardy and Jourdan Imani Keith. Nicole read her essay "Salt Mine" about her year-long journey sailing around the world, wrangling cockroaches, and earning the right to be called a "mariner." Jourdan read poems to commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, for friends on journeys, and written in response to Debora Moore's exhibit at the Northwest African American Museum; and shared excerpts from from her memoir Coyote Autumn about discovering adventure, romance, and the world in Yellowstone National Park, and learning why you never take the seat next to the restroom on a cross-country, Greyhound bus. C & P Coffee Co.'s very own Peter Moores floored the audience with his Favorite Poem---"Lost in the Forest" by Pablo Neruda.
Links to the YouTube video and podcast audio are below.
WordsWest Literary Series 9 - Kids' Night at WordsWest with Sundee Frazier and Charles & Elisheba Johnson / Favorite Poem by Leslie Sumida of the West Seattle Branch, The Seattle Public Library
For the Year 1 finale on June 17, 2015, WordsWest hosted its first-ever Kids' Night to a full house, featuring award-winning children's authors Sundee Frazier and Charles & Elisheba Johnson. Sundee read a harrowing chapter from her upcoming novel Cleopatra Edison Oliver, CEO (Scholastic Feb. 2016), about her young heroine's business plan to remove loose teeth using dental floss and a Nerf gun. Father-daughter writers Charles and Elisheba read passages from The Hard Problem, volume two in their series The Adventures of Emery Jones, Boy Science Wonder ... in which Emery's invention brings him to the brink of falling in love with a charming, extraterrestrial mollusk. West Seattle children's librarian Leslie Sumida offered both a summer reading table and her Favorite Poem: "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll. Kids, Pocky sticks, and good cheer abounded.
Below are the links to the YouTube video and podcast audio of the evening. WordsWest is off for summer vacation in July and August. Please join us for the kick-off of WordsWest Year 2 (WWY2) on September 16, 2015. We'll be featuring more remarkable novelists, poets, and memoirists ... alongside playwrights, radio journalists, and new surprises! Event sponsors already include the renowned women's writing residency Hedgebrook and literary journal Isthmus.
WordsWest Literary Series 8 - Encountering the Everyday Wild with Allen Braden and Lyanda Lynn Haupt / Favorite Poem by Eric Jordan of The Office Junction
On May 20, 2015, poet Allen Braden and naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt led us through encounters with bat-eating crows, the black dog of depression, and the coyotes who linger at the edge of our consciousness. During the Q & A that followed, they talked about writing outdoors, attentiveness to the reader, and exciting, soon-to-be disclosed projects. Eric Jordan, representing The Office Junction, shared his Favorite Poem: "Aspects of Robinson" by Weldon Kees.
This event was supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. Below are the links to the YouTube video and the podcast audio (3 tracks: presentation; Q & A; and Favorite Poem).
WordsWest Literary Series 7 - Death, Taxes, and Poetry with Kelli Russell Agodon and January Gill O'Neil / Favorite Poem by Paul Nojaim of West Seattle Acupuncture
On April 15, 2015, poets Kelli Russell Agodon and January Gill O'Neil joined WordsWest for "Death and Taxes: The National Poetry Month Special" with poems ranging from okra to Oprah to the ephemeral nature of life and what our children will say about us in their tell-all books. Paul Nojaim of West Seattle Acupuncture read a Favorite Poem: "How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?" by Dick Lourie, as featured in the film Smoke Signals by Sherman Alexie.
Afterward, January led the audience in a writing exercise using one's non-dominant hand as an opportunity to follow new ways to approach familiar topics; and Kelli assembled two "Exquisite Corpses," i.e., poems assembled from short sentences offered by everyone in the audience.
This event was sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc. Below are the links to the YouTube video and audio podcast files (2 tracks on the playlist).
WordsWest Literary Series 6 - Saint and Sinner with Elizabeth Austen and Michelle Peñaloza / Favorite Poem by Carmilia's Boutique, Linda & Carsten Sabee
On March 18, 2015, Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen and award-winning poet Michelle Peñaloza read about being both "Saint and Sinner," including discussions with God and the heartbreak / footache of walking from Capitol Hill to the Renton Highlands. Afterward, Elizabeth shared tips on presenting work orally and Michelle described how she went about creating a unique poetry collaboration. The mother/son pair of Linda and Carsten Sabee of Carmilia's Boutique read Favorite Poems: "The cat's song" by Marge Piercy (Linda), and "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley (Carsten). This event was sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc.
Below are the links to the YouTube video and audio podcast files.
WordsWest Literary Series
Here's where you'll find information about our past events. For a complete list of past featured writers, favorite poems, and sponsors, consult our "About" page.