Although Catherine Barnett and Renee Simms had never met before, Catherine had specifically asked if they could share the stage at WordsWest. And consequently, a literary friendship was born on a Wednesday night at C & P Coffee Company. The braiding of the two writers' work together was brilliant as many in the audience mentioned to the curators after the show. The night centered on a "living anthology" where both authors explored different notions of time. Catherine (who flew in from the East Coast for the reading) began with poems from her new book Human Hours (Graywolf Press) and offered the audience a definition of lyric time (time outside of the clock) and narrative time (time of the schedule, or her college-age son's time). Barnett's deadpan humor and poetic generosity was moving and the crowd felt it. Renee Simms (driving up from Tacoma) read from her short story collection Meet Behind Mars (Made in Michigan Writers Series). Was a father's wife was poisoning him? Had a writer's family been killed off literally or only figuratively? How does one leave the midwest? Gabrielle Bates of Open Books joined us to share a show-stopping Favorite Poem, Richard Siken's "Scheherazade" from his collection Crush; Open Books sold books for the evening; and Abi Pollokoff (also of Open Books) and former Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen took up Catherine's challenge to create spontaneous poetry out of questions. The evening was alchemical: the spring equinox changed into a time out of time where high caliber literature was all that mattered.
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.