Poetry Rules!

National Poetry Month poster, courtesy of Academy of American PoetsApril is National Poetry Month, and it’s rhyme time in Seattle. The sponsoring Academy of American Poets suggests 30 Ways to Celebrate the month. And whether you’re in to writing or reading or listening to poetry, there’s lots going on locally to help you do just that.

The Seattle Public Library sponsors many poetry events in April. The North East Branch has a month-long poetry contest, with submissions of an original poem by children, teens, and adults taken from April 1-30, and a gala poetry awards ceremony and open mike on May 20. At the ceremony, someone will walk away with the coveted Wedgie Award trophy, and everyone can grab fortune cookies with custom poetry fortunes. The Green Lake Branch is hosting three events by Poets West: a public forum on April 5, a prose sharing open mike on April 12, and a poetry sharing open mike on April 19. They intend to continue this series at Green Lake on the first three Saturdays of the month from May to September after that. The Southwest Branch is hosting a Continue reading “Poetry Rules!”

Gentrification and the Arts

Beautiful Things That Heaven BearsIf you have picked up this year’s Seattle Reads novel, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu you’ve had a chance to get one novelist’s take on some of the issues and pressures that can fracture a community changing in the face of gentrification and immigration.

Facing similar issues, particularly those of gentrification pressures, local Capitol Hill artists, arts activists, neighbors and interested citizens are gathering at Seattle City Hall in April to discuss community concerns about rapidly diminishing affordable space for arts uses in the City’s core neighborhoods. Get details at:

Make Room for Art: Cultural Overlay Districts for Seattle
April 2, 5pm-6:30pm, Seattle City Hall

City Councilmembers will hear from Seattle residents, arts and entertainment venues and organizations, property owners, developers, and officials on how the Council might go about establishing an overlay district to offer incentives and controls in a specific area to encourage or preserve particular kinds of activities, spaces, and/or design. How can the city grow in a healthy balanced way that benefits all? This could be an exciting opportunity to add your voice as “A City Makes Herself.”

Flower Frenzy

It’s flower season here in the great northwest!  If you want to get up close to fields and fields of colorful tulips, don’t miss the 25th Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

If you’d like to explore some of the fascinating history of these blooms, here is a bouquet of books exploring the appeal of flowers past and present:

Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by Mike Dashtulipomania.jpg

In the Netherlands in the 1630s, during the height of what would become known as “Tulip Mania,” single tulips were being sold for more than the price of a house. This slim fascinating page-turner Continue reading “Flower Frenzy”

Happy Birthday, Betty MacDonald!

image-of-egg-and-i-book-cover-courtesy-of-pat-sum.jpgEvery so often history offers us a chance to revisit a good book. This March is the centennial of the birth of Betty MacDonald, author of The Egg and I (1945) which is a memoir of life on a “chicken ranch” on the Olympic peninsula near Chimacum from 1927-1931. Betty observed the very rural and undeveloped farmland and forest and commented on the facts about farm living. Her large cast iron cookstove which she nicknamed “Stove” was a constant source of frustration for her; baby chicks seemed to be self-destructive; her neighbors throw-backs from evolutionary development of the species. She wrote the book after her divorce and she had remarried and moved to Vashon Island. Here’s a sample:

“By one o’clock on winter Sundays the house was shining clean, my hair was washed, Bob had on clean clothes and dinner was ready. Usually, just as we sat down to the table, as if by prearranged signal, the sun came out. True it shone with about as much warmth and lust as a Victorian spinster and kept darting behind clouds as if it were looking for its knitting and sticking hits head out again with an apologetic smile, but it was sun and not rain. The mountains, either in recognition of the sun or Sunday, would have their great white busts exposed and I expected momentarily to have them clear their throats and start singing Rock of Ages in throaty contraltos.”

                                                                   ~ The Egg and I. p. 77 Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Betty MacDonald!”

Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?

A historic five-day gathering to focus the world’s attention on the importance of nurturing kindness and compassion will take place at large-scale venues in Seattle from April 11 to 15, 2008. This spiritually-significant event will include public presentations by the Dalai Lama, as well as other luminaries. For a complete listing of events see Seeds of Compassion.

At the local level, the children’s, young adult and adult services librarians at Green Lake Branch are inspired to join forces and mount an interactive display, and to compile a list of suggested books for all age levels in the community. We invite you to visit our Branch to exchange seed packets in our “Sow Seeds of Compassion” display.

We also invite YOU, the reader, to contribute to and expand this list for our diverse communities in Seattle, and elsewhere. What books are you familiar with that signify compassion, or can help people become more compassionate by reading them? Feel free to provide your favorite author/title(s) and short comments at the end of this list. Let’s share our knowledge and awareness of compassion so that everyone can benefit!

Sow Seeds of Compassion:

Recommended Reading for adults, teens and children

ADULT BOOKS

Kindness in a Cruel World by Nigel Barber

Buddha Heart, Buddha Mind by Robert R. Barr

Ordinary Grace by Kathleen Brehony Continue reading “Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?”