You’re Invited! Poems and Stories about Animals at Good Shepherd Center, Seattle: Tuesday, Nov. 18, 7:00 p.m.

I get to be in a reading with Bethany Reid, Rick Clark, J. Glenn Evans, Douglas Schuder,
and David Horowitz. Please come! Here are the details:

BOW-MOO-MEOW: Poems and Stories about Animals
7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Room 202, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle (Wallingford)

Telephone: David D. Horowitz, 206-633-2725
E-mail: David, rosealleypress@juno.com
URL: www.rosealleypress.com

Amanda Bubble Has Had a Really Good Year

A few years ago, I invented a persona named Amanda Bubble, in whose voice I’ve written a couple of dozen poems. Gradually, hers has become the most frequent voice in my full-length manuscript (the latest iteration of which I’ve given the working title “Amanda Bubble and the Wild-Caught Gods”). Like me, she asks a lot of questions about God, ethics, and poetry. Unlike me, she’s young (probably late twenties), sassy, and frustrated about not being able to write novels. I’m having a lot of fun with her voice, which I imagine includes frequent uptalk at the end of her sentences? And those sentences, sometimes fragments, like she’s just tossing off remarks.

Amanda Bubble has had the good fortune of making a lot of friends in the past year. Four of her poems have been published in two different issues of Clover: A Literary Rag, and another in the 2013 Floating Bridge Review. This year, Floating Bridge Review has chosen another for the forthcoming issue. She has received many kind compliments from audiences at readings, and most exciting of all, she’s become the star of her own chapbook manuscript. (She likes that very much, but is just a little uncomfortable with all the attention?)

That chapbook manuscript, titled “Amanda Bubble Is Nearly on Fire,” was one of five finalists for this year’s Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, open to Washington-State poets. I’m thrilled that I’ve been invited to give a reading with another finalist, Michael Schmeltzer, and the winner, John Whalen, at the Seattle launch of his winning chapbook, Above the Pear Trees.

That reading will be Monday, September 29, 7:00 p.m. at Richard Hugo House in Seattle.

I’ll also be reading a couple of Amanda Bubble poems at a multi-author reading from the current issue of Clover: A Literary Rag on Sunday, September 21, 4:00 p.m. at Village Books in Bellingham.

If you’re in the area, please come to one or both of these events and enjoy the celebrations!

Gratitude for Words of Encouragement

Joannie Stangeland’s latest collection of poetry (Ravenna Press, 2014)

Many, many thanks to Seattle poet, editor, and winemaker Joannie Stangeland for her write-up of Impossible Lessons as her Saturday Poetry Pick yesterday! Her lovely words are here.

In a wonderful coincidence, I’ve been reading her new book, In Both Hands. The poems there are haunting, replete with precise images of beauty and loss. I’m falling in love with, and going to school on, these incredible poems.

Be sure to read another recent post of Joannie’s, in which she describes her current writing projects.

A Little Story Involving Some Blasphemies in the Garden

Pulling weeds from the raised beds, I was feeling smug and virtuous for choosing to foodscape. We’ll eat lower on the food chain: more veggies, less meat. And the second week of June is never too early to put in your vegetables, right? I was further congratulating myself on allowing the tiny wild pea vines I was ripping out in handfuls to have served as a cover crop all these months. It had proliferated all through the spring: sweet little legume, enriching the soil with its nitrogen-fixing roots.

When I stood to look at the space I’d cleared, I saw about a billion displaced aphids squirming on the soil. Tiny green sugarbodies, suddenly exposed to the sun. They scuttled for the lifeboats, anything moist—grass blades, fir cones, pulled-up pea roots. I picked these up between gloved finger and thumb and dropped them into my wheelbarrow.

Disgusted, sorrowful, I returned two hours later. Toughen up, I told myself: the food chain never was for the faint of stomach. I spaded in compost and manure and the aphids’ billion sun-shriveled bodies. Mixed it all well. Planted my veg.

O goddess of solstice, O patron saint of sciatica, O receiver of insect souls: please bless my goddamn tomatoes.

 

Poetry Readings This Week

Heather Curtis, Jennifer Bullis, Shannon Laws at Village Books, Fairhaven

Heather Curtis, Jennifer Bullis, Shannon Laws at Village Books, Fairhaven

I get to do two readings in the next four days. With five other poets! Please join us for one or both of these events:

Saturday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. at Village Books, Bellingham. This will be the Bellingham launch of Anacortes poet Heather Curtis’s first collection of poems, Upon Waking. To join Heather in celebrating her book during National Poetry Month, Village Books has invited Shannon Laws, author of the poetry collection Madrona Grove, and me to read with her.

Monday, April 7, 6:45 p.m. at Seattle Public Library, Fremont Branch. Sylvia Byrne Pollack, Michael Schmeltzer, and I will participate in this reading organized by Floating Bridge Press.

Hope to see you there!

Cheers,
Jennifer

Paintings by Mary Lingen

Lake Hattie 11 by Mary Lingen

Lake Hattie 11 by Mary Lingen

Sometimes when I’ve been writing and writing until I can’t write another word, I spend some time with visual art, and I can start writing again. Isn’t it interesting how the nonverbal has power to fuel the verbal? Or, maybe it’s simply that beauty strengthens and motivates…

While browsing literary magazines to submit poems to recently, I was reading Shark Reef, a journal based in Washington State’s San Juan Islands, and became captivated by the stunning visual art featured in its issues. When I came across paintings there by Minnesota artist Mary Lingen, I had to see more, and clicked through to her pages at MNArtists.org. I’m excited to show you two of my favorites, from her Lake Hattie series, shared with Mary Lingen’s permission.

Isn’t it surprising, how bare winter branches can carry so much color?

Lake Hattie 10 by Mary Lingen

Lake Hattie 10 by Mary Lingen

To see more of Mary Lingen’s art and learn more about her work, explore her blog at http://marylingen.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/march-1-2014/. For visual and spiritual sustenance, I find myself returning to Mary’s paintings again and again.

Thank you for your marvelous work, Mary, and for permission to share some of it here!

Cheers,
Jennifer

Readings During National Poetry Month

I’ve been invited to participate in three different poetry events in April, all within the span of 12 days! I’m very excited to get to share poems from Impossible Lessons, as well as some new material, at the following readings:

Saturday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. at Village Books in Bellingham. This will be the Bellingham launch of Anacortes poet Heather Curtis’s first collection of poems, Upon Waking. To join Heather in celebrating her book during National Poetry Month, Village Books has invited Shannon Laws, author of the poetry collection Madrona Grove, and me to read with her.

Monday, April 7, 6:45 p.m. at Seattle Public Library, Fremont Branch. Sylvia Byrne Pollack, Michael Schmeltzer, and I will participate in this reading organized by Floating Bridge Press.

Thursday, April 17, 7:00 p.m. at Cafe Zippy in Everett. I’ll be the featured reader at Everett Poetry Nite, which includes music and open mic.

More details to follow!

Cheers,
Jennifer