Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jane Hirshfield and the Skagit River Poetry Festival - May 22nd...

“Good poetry begins with seeing increasingly clearly, in increasingly various ways; but another part of poetry’s true perception is found only in relinquishing more and more of the self to more and more of the world.”
~ -Jane Hirshfield
I came across this quote today and it states so succinctly what  I believe about poetry - and about living a creative life. And what I want this blog to encompass. I've started to expound on this, but I think the quote works best if I just say a big YES. Yes,  to being in the world and letting those perceptions: images, ideas, songs, bits of cut glass come through me into the poem. Yes, to use a kitchen metaphor: Let poets be the sifters of the world. What's a better word for sifter? Flour, sugar, image, and imagination.

My favorite place in the world for poetry is the Skagit River Poetry Festival. This May 21 -22, it's where you want to be. Every other year, on the third weekend in May, the little town of La Conner, WA transforms into a truly magical poetry venue. I've seen Naomi Shihab Nye read morning poems at 8 AM in a local church (no church service except her words); I've heard Elizabeth Austen perform her work in the Northwest Art Museum and listened to Rachel Rose  in the town's community hall. The Skagit Festival is where poetry matters as much as the air we breathe. This year the line-up includes Sherman Alexie, Terrance Hayes, Ted Kooser, and Valzhyna Mort. 


  1. Thanks for the Hirshfield quote and welcome to the blog world.

    I've been a fan since I read The Cartographer's Tongue and am looking forward to your new book.

  2. Thank you, Sandy. I hope to make this a blog that's worthwhile. I'll be posting about how to apply to writers' residencies and about the poet Madeline DeFree's 90th Birthday party at Elliott Bay Books a little later in the week. I am so glad you found me here.

  3. Way to go, Susan, looks great. Will you continue posting on Red Room as well?

  4. Hi Janna,

    You are my on-line ideal, so that's high praise. I will try to find a way, perhaps with your help, to bring these posts to Red Room. But The Alchemist's Kitchen is going to be the main show. Something about choosing the colors and all the elements makes it seem more mine. Thanks so much for signing on.