Laughing Poets - My Favorite Poetry Weekend - Skagit River Poetry Festival

This moment: poems shared, happy listeners, the four of us appreciating the afterglow of a good reading. I'd even presume to use the word great because we read in a stellar space - the Skagit Historical Museum, enjoyed each others poetry (OK - I enjoyed the poetry of others - can't speak for them) and more than anything else - connected with our audience in the realm of pleasure and playfulness. Here's a poem that  Lorna Crozier read. She had me bent over and belly laughing.


Peas never liked any of it.
They make you suffer for the sweet
burst of green in the mouth. Remember
the hours of shelling on the front steps,
the ping into the basin? Your mother
bribing you with lemonade to keep you there,
popping them open with your thumbs.

Your tongue finds them clitoral
as it slides up the pod.
Peas are not amused.
They have spent all their lives
keeping their knees together.

Lorna Crozier, from The Blue Hour of the Day

I will never think of peas in the same way again. "burst of green in the mouth" and "keeping their knees together" are my favorite lines tonight. I have been at each Skagit River Poetry Festival since 2000, attending just after I moved to Washington. I hope to be at every festival from now until I die.

The lyrical river town, the welcoming homes, museums, and community center -- the superwomen volunteers, the magician of a director Molly McNulty, incredible audiences, goodwill of my fellow presenters ~ all of this leads to why this is my favorite poetry festival on the planet.

In this photo Tim McNulty, Lorna Crozier, Matthew Dickman, and I are taking a photo at the request of the festival photographer. An added touch this year was that each presenter went home with a photo of one of her performances. My friend Kelli Agodon (thank you!) clicked this "unofficial" picture from the side view.

And although I consider myself to be a strong introvert, for this weekend, once every two years,  I do my best to shed my shyness and dive into this community. The third weekend of May almost always includes May 20th. If he were still alive, my father would have been 89 this weekend. In some very specific ways I believe he attends with me each year as well.


  1. Sounds like the Skagit River Poetry Festival is awesome. I will not look at peas the same way either. I love all the imagery in that one! Thanks for sharing it. :-)

  2. Oh, what a lovely photo and poem. I can feel the warmth and comradery. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could have been there.

  3. Thank you for sharing that wonderful poem "Peas".

    I just ordered your new collection and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

  4. The Skagit Poetry Festival is awesome -- and only happens every two years. Let's all meet there in 2012~

    Maureen, thank you so much for ordering an Alchemist -- I am really honored and do hope you like what you read. May you find some sustenance there!


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