Outside the System: using blackout poetry to explore the relationship between motherhood, money, and capitalism

Outside the System: Using blackout poetry to explore the relationship between motherhood, money, and capitalism with Christina Vega

In this workshop, we’ll explore motherhood (as the non-gendered act of caretaking children) and how donning its mantle alters our relationship to capitalism and money, using blackout poetry as our expressive medium. We’ll look to the work of prominent artists Krista Franklin, Kellie Richardson, and Britteney Black Rose Kapri as guideposts along our way.

Participants should bring a magic marker, pencil, blank paper, and typed documents that can be used as the base for their blackout poem. Documents that touch on participants’ relationship to capitalism and money will be the most fruitful, though any will work. Examples include bills, job postings, newspapers, late notices, correspondence, emails, essays, etc.

Registration limited to 15 participants. This gathering is in person and will be hosted at Parable in Tacoma. Coffee will be provided.

ABOUT THE FACILITATOR: Christina Vega (they/them) is a Queer Chicana poet. They’re also the publisher at Blue Cactus Press. Christina self-published their debut poetry collection, Still Clutching Maps, in 2017. Their poetry has appeared in Creative Colloquy, Frontera Vol. 3: estados silvestres // natural states, International Poetry Review, Papeachu Issue 3, Timberline Review, WA129+, and Milk Gallery. Christina’s journalism has appeared in City Arts, Grit City Magazine, Hilltop Action Journal, OLY ARTS, The Ranger, VOICE Magazine and Weekly Volcano. Follow Christina on Twitter @bluecactuspress and Instagram @ccthemighty.

Creative Colloquy is fiscally sponsored by Shunpike. We owe gratitude to Tacoma Creates for their support of programming in this season.

Reflecting Our Whole Selves: a poetry workshop with Lydia K. Valentine

Standing in our complete intersectional truth is an act of resilience and resistance that is a part of self-care. Join Lydia K. Valentine, a Black autistic woman who lives with situational mutism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and proprioception dysfunction, in a poetry workshop exploring the work of poets living with disability and chronic illness, and writing your own work doing the same.

Workshop Notes:

  • Registration required. REGISTER HERE.
  • This is a 75-minute, virtual workshop held on January 15, 2022, at 11 a.m.
  • This is a free workshop, though donations are welcome.
  • Workshop capacity is limited to 20 participants

About the Facilitator

Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor and educator. Her proudest accomplishment, though, is being a mom to two creative, intelligent, and caring  individuals and activists. In her own writing and the projects to which she contributes through Lyderary Ink, Lydia seeks to amplify the voices of those who are often stifled, ignored, and marginalized in what has been the accepted narrative of the United States. Lydia’s first poetry collection, Brief Black Candles, was published in November 2020 by Not a Pipe Publishing.

We Need a Reckoning Book Launch & Celebration

Join Blue Cactus Press in celebrating the publication of We Need a Reckoning, an anthology of creative writing by women and non-binary people of color of the greater Tacoma area! We’re celebrating the arrival of this stellar collection of poems, memoir and essays on Thursday, December 30th, at 7PM via zoom.

The virtual event includes music by the phenomenal Tacoma DJ, Pat Coleman, as well as readings by Lydia K. Valentine, Kellie Richardson, Judy Cuellar, Jesi Hanley Vega, Janae Hill, and Katherine Felts; and the musical storytelling of Kim Archer.

IMPORTANT: This is a free event, though registration is required. Register by emailing bluecactuspress@gmail.com

Creative Colloquy Crawl: 2021

Traditionally our annual Crawl is a large scale literary event featuring dozens of wordsmiths and storytellers bridging genres and generations, demographics and experience levels. Due to Covid, this years festivities will be ONLINE and will remain to be FREE to attend.

This year, contributors from BCP’s We Need a Reckoning anthology will present their words at the Creative Colloquy Crawl on October 10th! There is so much talent and so many stories to share in Tacoma about the lived experiences, passions, rage, triumphs, dangers and fears of being women or color in today’s world. It’s about time we put a spotlight on as many of them as we can. We’re here, our stories matter.
Thanks to the efforts of Jesi Hanley Vega of Represent Editorial Services, a handful of contributors from We Need a Reckoning will present their writing from the anthology. Among the contributors reading their work are Judy Cuellar, Chanel Athena Estrada, Katherine Felts, Lauren Perez Hoogkamer, Gaian Bird, Marisha Kasjan, and Jesi Vega.
This event is free to attend but registration is required. See full details and RSVP today!


Arts at the Armory

90 Tacoma artists, working in all artistic disciplines and mediums, welcome you to the spacious Tacoma Armory for a unique interactive arts experience. Artists will be sharing their work and you will have an opportunity to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and even purchase one-of-a-kind creations.

Enjoy live music by Kareem Kandi World Orchestra on Saturday and Stephanie Anne Johnson on Sunday. Music sponsored by KNKX.

October 16 & 17
11 am – 5 pm
Free and for all ages

This event will follow all current Covid-19 health and safety protocols. Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status.

Enjoy this opportunity to connect with these Tacoma artists: A & G Mealing, Abigail Kok, Adrian Milanio, Ahlix Hale, Alex Cunningham, Alexzandria Garrett, Amy Lewis, Ann Darling, B. Eugene B., Bethany Cramer, Blue Cactus Press, Brenda Cummings, Cassandra Kuring, Chandler O’Leary, Charde’ Baker, Chelsia Berry, Chip Van Gilder, Claire Parrish, Cora Wells, Crystal Cox, Cyan Leder, Danielle Jordan, Darcy Jones, Deborah Renee, Dierdre Patterson, Dino Macioci, Elayne Vogel, Erika Norris, Gillian Nordlund, Hannah Sezer, Heather W. Ernst, Holly Knoll, Hoyt Crace, Ixia Tile Tacoma, Jaeda Reed, Jess Guatney, Jessica Spring, Joe Gallagher, Josh Harriman, Joshua Lee, Judith Perry, Jules Nemish, Julia White, Kathryn Anderson, Katie Dean, Kcie Monk, Kelly Lynch, Kellz Moylan, Kelsey Parkhurst, Kristina Batiste, L. J. Kuring, Luna Malia Azzouni, Lydia K. Valentine, Lynn Di Nino, Lyz Kurnitz-Thurlow, Mackenzie Hough, Maria Jost, Marit Berg, Mark Anthony Smith, Mark Tabaczynski, Mary Mann, Mary Patton, Mauricio Robalino, Mayumi Harris, Melissa Metzler, Nick Stokes, Nicole Turner, Nicole Lockard, Noah Struthers, Nora Prindle, Oliver Doriss, Olivia Sherman, Penny Russell AKA FireHorse, Rachel Heimbigner, Reid Ozaki, Roberto Sanchez, Steven Grice, Suzanne Skaar, Tacoma Life Drawing Group, Tacoma Light Trail, Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (T.U.P.A.C.), Taylor Cox, Teonna Manson-St. Ours, Teresa Owens, Teri Mori, Tim Peirson, Tracy Painter, Trenard Waite, Trevor Warren, Yuka Petz

View more info about Arts at the Armory here: https://tacomaartsmonth.org/arts-at-the-armory.

Thanks to our event sponsor, Tacoma Arts Live.

Red Earth Book Launch & Reading

Join Blue Cactus Press in congratulating author Esther Vincent Xueming on the publication of her debut poetry collection, Red Earth!

The event will kick off with a few words from the publishers of Blue Cactus Press and Pagesetters, whom collaborated over an ocean to bring this incredible collection of poems to life, and words from Illustrator and artist Shuyin, poet Gina Hietpas, and author and editor Yeow Kai Chai.

The main event will include a reading by Esther Vincent Xueming, followed by a casual Q&A from audience members.

This event is free, open to the public, and virtual, though REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. To register, please email bluecactuspress@gmail.com.

Seismic Shift: a poetry workshop on giving voice to tremors of change

Join Blue Cactus Press for “Seismic Shift: a poetry workshop on giving voice to tremors of change” on October 30th @ 11AM, facilitated by BCP author and educator Gina Hietpas.

The workshop will be virtual (zoom), and features poems by Denise Levertov and Gina Hietpas, and quotes from Bob Marley. This is a generative workshop intended to help writers draft new poems and/or the seeds of new creative writing. Participants will receive a copy of Hietpas’ poetry collection, Terrain, along with registration. Registration is required and costs $25.00.

Head to our workshop registration page to sign up!

FULL WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION: Our American culture acknowledges the grieving process with traumatic change—the loss of a beloved or a diagnosis with a terminal illness— but how do we give voice to the smaller tremors and shifts in our lives? The last year in particular has inflicted a multitude of unwanted changes. How do we speak our real feelings about being isolated from family or friends, changes in work or financial security, or the alteration of daily routines? This workshop provides a structure to create metaphor for our loss and frustration, and an opportunity to acknowledge our underlying vulnerability with so much change.

Moss Covered Claws *Live*

Blue Cactus Press is proud to announce a free, one-night only event in collaboration with Olympia author Jonah Barrett and the String and Shadow puppetry theater: Moss Covered Claws Live!
A hybrid between live reading, performance, and puppeteering, Moss Covered Claws Live adapts the short story “Boggy” from Jonah Barrett’s debut book, Moss Covered Claws (March 2021 by Blue Cactus Press). The show will include a post-performance Q&A with the author and actors, as well as a book sale where where audience members can purchase a copy of Moss Covered Claws and other Blue Cactus Press titles.
Barrett will narrate and play master of ceremonies, while local actors Mandy Ryle, Alice Rosewater, and Austin Bennett portray characters from Barrett’s story.
The short story being adapted, “Boggy,” chronicles a camping trip between a queer high schooler and her crush, where they encounter a sinister creature from the land’s past. The titular monster will be brought to life thanks to String and Shadow, consisting of Emily McHugh and Donald Palardy III, using a giant monster puppet nicknamed “Splashy.”

Green River Valley Virtual Book Launch

Join Blue Cactus Press in celebrating the publication of Robert Lashley’s newest poetry collection, Green River Valley, on June 11th! We’re excited to host this virtual book launch for such a talented, loyal, hardworking poet and friend as Robert. In addition to a poetry reading by Robert, the event will also feature a few words by the photographer behind the cover, Jody Poorwill, and a few other local authors who we’ll announce shortly!

Please note that while this is a free event, registration is required. To register, email bluecactuspress (at) gmail (dot) com! 

Entangled Empathy”: Ecofeminism And the Intersectional Self in Poetry

Blue Cactus Press invites you to participate in a FREE, virtual poetry workshop facilitated by BCP author Esther Vincent Xueming on June 17, 2021, at 7 PM (PST). In this workshop, we will examine Gaard’s definition of ecofeminism, which focuses on the politics of relations or “interbeing” as essential to how the woman finds herself located in time and place as an intersectional being. We will further explore the concept of empathy, and discuss Gruen’s metaphor of “entangled empathy” which Gaard relates to “compassion and action” typified by eco-social justice. With these understandings in mind, we will read poems using an intersectional ecofeminist lens in order to answer these questions: How can an intersectional ecofeminist reading of a poem empower marginalised groups and promote eco-social justice? Can poetry enable us to (in the words of Donna Haraway) ‘make kin’ with other person-beings that we share this earth with, and in doing so, cultivate an “entangled empathy” to foster compassion and action? To find out more about the workshop and Esther Vincent Xueming, and to register for the event (registration required), see the Entangled Empathy workshop page, here

A few notes:

  • This is a one-hour, virtual workshop held on Thursday, 17 June, 7PM (PST) / Friday, 18 June, 10AM (SGT). 
  • Participants will need to bring a poem to the workshop and may be asked to submit their poem ahead of the session. 
  • This workshop is free to attend, but registration is required.
  • Workshop capacity is limited to twenty participants.
  • This workshop will be streamed on Facebook Live and made available after the session on Facebook and the Blue Cactus Press website for promotional and publicity purposes. If you are not comfortable having yourself recorded, please switch off your video during the workshop.
  • Esther Vincent Xueming’s debut poetry collection, Red Earth, is forthcoming from Blue Cactus Press in Fall 2021.