Exactly one year ago, Blue Cactus Press opened for business and started working towards publishing our first book. One marvelous year later, we’re back at it again! BCP is celebrating our one year anniversary with a special announcement about our newest, upcoming book by a truly talented author, Samuel Snoek-Brown.
The holidays are upon us! So, before everyone gets jazzed up on sugar cookies, glittery wrapping paper and tasty Christmas cocktails, I thought I’d let you know I’m kicking 2018 off with a poetry reading at Browsers Bookshop. I’m happy to say I’ll be reading alongside Olympia poet Joanne M. Clarkson, whose work I admire very much, on January 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Joanne and I will read from our respective new poetry collections, The Fates by Joanne M. Clarkson and Still Clutching Maps by Christina Butcher. We’d love for you to join us for a wintry night of poetry next January!
What: Christina Butcher & Joanne M. Clarkson Poetry Reading
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, January 22
Where: Browsers Bookshop
(107 Capitol Way N, Olympia)
More about the Authors & Their Work:
Christina Butcher is a freelance writer, podcaster and veteran from Chaparral, New Mexico. She has a passion for storytelling and community involvement. She’s a regular contributor to OLY ARTS, The Ranger, Weekly Volcano and Thurston County Chamber of Commerce’s VOICE Magazine. Her writing has also appeared in City Arts, Creative Colloquy and Hilltop Action Journal. Christina’s debut poetry collection, Still Clutching Maps, was published in May 2017 by Blue Cactus Press. It explores ideas of language, power, and place as they inform a person’s ever-evolving identity. Christina holds degrees in anthropology and Chinese-Mandarin language studies, as well as a certificate in storytelling and content strategy. She lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington.
Joanne M. Clarkson’s full-length poetry collection, The Fates, won Bright Hill Press’ annual contest and was published in June 2017. This year her work was featured in the WA129 Poet Laureate Anthology, Blue Heron Review, Catamaran, Edge, Modern Poetry Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, the Ice Cream Anthology from World Enough Writers and the We’Moon Datebook for 2018. She has been the recipient of a GAP Grant from Artists Trust and a NEH grant to teach poetry in rural libraries. Clarkson has Master’s Degrees in English and Library Science. She has taught and worked as a professional librarian. After caring for her mother through a long illness, she re-careered as a RN specializing in Home Health and Hospice Care. She lives in Olympia, WA, and serves on the Board of the Olympia Poetry Network.
Yes, I did get that from Write253’s Louder Than A Bomb Tacoma poetry slam, but listening to poetry and truly hearing the messages authors are conveying is more important than ever as our country continues to divide itself along political and racial lines. Despite our national division, I see poets, authors, musicians and artists trying to sew the gap back up with art. And I can honestly say I’m continually impressed not only the quality of their creative work, but with the strength of their messages, as well.
The impact of Tacoma’s local artistry hit me the hardest this afternoon at a post-workshop open mic hosted by Write253. The workshops and open mic were a part of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, which is happening all weekend (and includes a small press fair that yours truly will be peddling my wares at on Saturday afternoon).
Write253’s open mic was filled with young writers and musicians, all of whom blew me away with their performances. Students spoke with honesty and grit about alcoholism, violence, identity and race, community, friendship and politics, and they did so with a sense of abandon that I think many adults (myself included) struggle to achieve.
It was inspiring. They were inspiring. So I sat down to create something of my own, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I went home and recorded a few poems as spoken word to share with you in the same way the young poets I heard this afternoon shared with me.
This fall and winter, I hope to record more poetry, to write new poems, and to share as much of it with you as I can. If I can swing it, I’ll record stories and poems by other local authors, as well. Listen in and let me know what you think.
More importantly, sit down and write. and share. and do it again and again and again.