The Language of Water: Poetry on Buses

Image courtesy of avocadogirlfriend on flikrBy Library Staff

Do you have a thirst for verse? Well, there’s a way to quench it! The Poetry on Buses Public Art Program, a partnership between 4Culture and Metro Transit, invites poets of all inclinations to submit a poem around a particular theme.  The 2016 theme is “Your Body of Water” and the Office of Arts & Culture, Sound Transit, Seattle Public Utilities, King County Water and Land Division and The Seattle Public Library are also taking the plunge. Continue reading “The Language of Water: Poetry on Buses”

Poets at Play

Did you know that, Langston Hughes has the distinction of being at the top of the list of the most popular historical poets? This little gem was discovered on the Academy of American Poets website, which keeps a list of the most popular contemporary and historical poets. Known for his poetry, Hughes wrote the celebrated holiday play Black Nativity that will be honored for its 50th anniversary this year.

Seattle Theatre Group presents Black NativityHughes’ poetry and dramatic talents will be “on stage” in a unique collaboration between the Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Theatre Group. Poems at Play: a Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Black Nativity is a two-part program beginning on Saturday, October 8 at 2PM at the Douglass-Truth library. Poets from YouthSpeaks, a program of Arts Corps, will read from Hughes poetry and works written to honor the poet/playwright. Excerpts from Black Nativity will be presented at the Central Library on Saturday, November 12 at 2PM. Director Jackie Moscou, music director Pat Wright and Hughes scholar Hans Ostrom will read Hughes poetry and discuss his legacy. Continue reading “Poets at Play”

Poetry in Fremont

In April our minds turn to poetry. This coming Saturday, April 2, the Washington Poets Association and The Seattle Public Library will bring three wonderful poets to read at the Fremont Branch Library: Joan Swift, Dennis Caswell, and Peter Pereira…

Here are their thoughts as April approaches.

Joan Swift says of poetry: At night, while trying to go to sleep, I tend to have half lines float around in my consciousness ….but they always need more work by daylight.

Dennis Caswell’s hero is Emily Dickinson: Just about everything makes me think of poetry. Sometimes I feel like a literary hobo who never knows where his next poem is coming from.

From Peter Pereira we learn: Being a gardener, I am reminded on a daily basis about the beauty and resilience of nature, and how poetry, like Spring, is inevitable.

Please join us to meet these three fine poets and hear them read at the Fremont Branch Library on Saturday, April 2, 2 to 3 p.m. Light refreshments will follow the reading.

                                          ~Lynn M., Ballard Branch

Books on Basho and His Haiku at the Seattle Public Library

image of furuike ya haiku by Basho, courtesy of petitshoo via flickrMatsuo Basho (1644-1694) was the most famous poet of Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868). His great contribution to Japanese poetry was that he elevated the haiku to a level of art after it had been part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years. His concepts, insights, and understanding of the art form of haiku influenced generations of haiku poets in Japan and beyond, and his great poetry is still widely appreciated today.

The Seattle Public Library has some good titles on Basho and his haikus in its collection. For a complete collection on Basho’s accredited poems, you can check out: Basho: The Complete haiku by Matsuo Basho, translated, annotated, and with an introduction by Jane Reichhold; original artwork by Shiro Tsujimura.  There are several selections on Basho’s finest poems: The Way of silence; the prose and poetry of Basho, edited by Richard Lewis; photos by Helen Buttfield, The Essential Basho, by Matsuo Basho; translated from the Basho complete HaikuJapanese by Sam Hamill, On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho, translated from the Japanese with an introduction by Lucien Stryk, and A Zen wave: Basho’s haiku and Zen, by Robert Aitken.  Among the selections listed above, the last two would give you some ideas on how Basho’s Zen beliefs influenced his spirit and his haiku. Both literary texts provided in the introductions by the compilers are enlightening and worth reading in terms of helping readers have a deeper understanding of Basho’s haiku.

Basho made many trips across his native country of Japan during his lifetime. The most famous one was his last journey through the northern provinces of Japan in 1689. Back roads to far towns: Basho’s travel journal, translated by Cid Corman and Kamaike Susumu; illustrated by Hide Oshiro was the record of this journey. It is recognized to be Basho’s finest Continue reading “Books on Basho and His Haiku at the Seattle Public Library”

A poem by one of Seattle’s many poets

net-poetry-contest-0609-submissionFor several years, the Northeast branch has offered a Poetry Contest during April for National Poetry Month. 288 kids, teens and adults participated this year and the Awards Ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 19.  The youngest poet was four years old and the oldest was 84 – it’s quite a multigenerational program! Please visit your neighborhood branch or the Central Library to browse the poetry collection. Friendly librarians are ready to help you find what you may be interested in.

Copies of all contest poems submitted are bound and available for reading at the Northeast branch – ask for them at the Information Desk. The following poem received first place recognition in the adults category at the Awards Ceremony.

A City Named Dis — the Lower Hell
by Mary Butler

How can I call it
Hell when I was so
Relieved to get there? Continue reading “A poem by one of Seattle’s many poets”