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, 11AM (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.

Feedback, Not Friction: A Poetry Critique Group for Women of Color

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re holding two  sessions  of  “Feedback, Not Friction: A Poetry Critique Group for Women of Color” this April. This workshop is specifically for Women of Color to include women-identifying and gender-nonconforming individuals. Participants will meet virtually to discuss and give feedback on original, previously shared poetry at a round-table discussion facilitated by poet and publisher Christina Butcher. Using workshop principles presented by Felicia Rose Chavez in The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, we’ll engage in collective support; study and discuss each writer’s style, voice, and writing habits; discuss craft elements to give and receive targeted, craft-based feedback; and assess the challenges and successes of submitted drafts. This workshop is offered virtually to participants on April 15th or April 30th, 2021, from 5-8PM (PST).

For more details on the workshop and the workshop facilitator, or to reserve a seat in the workshop, please visit the “Feedback Not Friction” workshop page, here. 

Lie Your Ass Off: A Poetry Workshop with Michael Haeflinger

Join BCP for a workshop exploring the art of lying in poetry, facilitated by Tacoma poet and educator Michael Haeflinger. We will look at instances of hyperbole and interpretation, but also at examples of flat-out making stuff up in service of a great poetic Truth. Our workshop will look at poems by Wisława Szymborska, Ulrich Berkes, Nikki Giovanni, and Jim Harrison, and make space to write a draft of a poem that examines notions of truth and fiction. The workshop will be held on May 20, 2021, from 6:00 – 7:15 PM (PST), via Zoom.

BONUS: Participants will receive a FREE copy of Haeflinger’s poetry collection, Low Static Rage, upon workshop registration! 

For more details on the workshop and the workshop facilitator, or to reserve a seat in the workshop, please visit the “Lie Your Ass Off” workshop page, here. 

Virtual Book Launch & Reading: Moss Covered Claws by Jonah Barrett

Join Blue Cactus Press for a virtual book launch and reading of Moss Covered Claws, the debut short story collection from fantasy author Jonah Barrett. The event will include a reading by Barrett followed by a short a Q&A and discussion about MONSTERS.

To purchase a copy of the book prior to the event or to learn more about the author, visit the book page, here.

This event is free, but registration is required.  REGISTER BY EMAILING BLUECACTUSPRESS@GMAIL.COM.

Village 253 Handmade Market + Mingle Virtual Market

The 6th Annual Handmade Market & Mingle is VIRTUAL this year! Join Blue Cactus Press at an online multi-vendor marketplace this from Nov 28 – Dec 8 . Pickup for items purchased at the event will be in North Tacoma from Dec 12-21. Vendors include:
Blue Cactus Press
Craft Theory
Happy Fox Studio Jewelry
Luna Fin Designs
Bones Bits
Snapology of Gig Harbor
Indigo Street Studio
Cascade Candle Company
Poppy Jewelry Designs
HJ Rustic
Cocoa Loves Grey
(more tba)
There will also be a Food is Free Project Tacoma fundraiser + Zoom Party on Dec 4, from 6-8pm. RSVP on Eventbrite for an email reminder here: https://tacomahandmademarket.eventbrite.com

Virtual Book Launch & Reading: Terrain by Gina Hietpas

Join Blue Cactus Press for a virtual book launch and reading of Terrain, the debut poetry collection by Pacific Northwest poet and educator Gina Hietpas.The event will include a short introduction by poet, essayist and natural history writer Tim McNulty, a reading by Hietpas, and a Q&A with the author, moderated by poet, teacher and editor Holly Hughes.

This event is free, but registration is required.  REGISTER BY EMAILING BLUECACTUSPRESS@GMAIL.COM.

To purchase a copy of the book or learn more about the author, visit the book page, here.

Virtual Book Launch & Reading

We’d like to invite you to join us on Monday, July 20 at 7PM, for a short, digital reading and book launch for Yousef Allouzi and Samuel Snoek-Brown! Both authors will read and answers questions about their newly published chapbooks, which are launching the same day!

The Bedouin by Yousef Allouzi and There Are No False Alarms by Samuel Snoek-Brown are being published in tandem as part of the Blue Cactus Press Chapbook Series. The BCP Chapbook Series pairs emerging writers with an established author who mentors them through the publishing experience. Find out more about the chapbooks (and pre-order your copy) here. 

At the launch event, the authors will read from their work and answer questions about the publishing process and their creative work for audience members.

REGISTER  FOR THE EVENT (this is required!) please email bluecactuspress@gmail.com

BCP Fall Reading

Join Blue Cactus Press for a virtual, non-fiction reading to celebrate the onset of Fall, as well as honor the work authors whose writing graced our pages (and screens) this summer!  Our outstanding lineup of authors includes Yousef Allouzi, Gina Hietpas, Tamiko Nimura, Samuel Snoek-Brown. The authors will each read from new and selected works, and will answer questions and chat with audience members after their readings.

This event is free, but registration is required.



YOUSEF ALLOUZI is an author and data analyst currently living in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a BS in Economics and a Master of Public Policy from Oregon State University. He’s also the author of The Bedouin, a memoir essay and chapbook published in July, 2020 (Blue Cactus Press).

GINA HIETPAS is a self–taught poet, born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Nowadays, she lives outside Sequim, Washington, on a small farm with her husband, a few cows and a passel of chickens. She’s the author of Terrain, a poetry collection delving into allyship, healing, nature and care, published in September, 2020 (Blue Cactus Press).

TAMIKO NIMURA is a third-generation Japanese American and second-generation Filipina American. She’s a freelance writer, essayist, community journalist, and public historian. She just published her first book, Rosa Franklin: A Life in Health CarePublic Service, and Social Justice, in 2019 (Washington State Oral History Program).

SAMUEL SNOEK-BROWN teaches and writes in the Pacific Northwest. He’s the author the Civil War novel Hagridden, the short story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, and flash-fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin. He also works as a production editor for Jersey Devil Press, and he lives online at snoekbrown.com.

POSTPONED: Blue Cactus Press Anniversary Reading & Open Mic



Please join Blue Cactus Press in celebration of three years of publishing under the belt, and another year already underway! On April 30, we’re welcoming poets and authors from our last year of publishing, as well as those whose work we’re featuring in the coming year.

Featured Readers include Robert Lashley, Gina Hietpas, Michael Haeflinger, Jonah Barrett, and more!

Following our featured readers, we’ll host a short open mic to celebrate art, community and damn fine literature.

About the Readers


Jonah Barrett is a filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist. His writing can be found in Creative Colloquy, Everyday Genius, Lit.Cat, OlyArts, and the bestselling Portland anthologies City of Weird and Dispatches From Anarres. Jonah has directed and written three feature films, a dozen-ish short films, and four web series. He has worked as a literary magazine editor, journalist, marketing director, assistant director, script supervisor, and art conservator. Currently he works at a hundred year-old theater with a number of ghosts. His favorite genres are creature features and romantic comedies, and he has found they are pretty much the same.

Gina Hietpas is a self–taught poet, born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Nowadays, she lives outside Sequim, Washington, on a small farm with her husband, a few cows and a passel of chickens. Her land is a habitat for elk, deer, coyotes and an occasional bear. It is, for the most part, a peaceful coexistence. Several seasons as a backcountry ranger for Olympic National Park shaped her deep connection to wilderness. She has worked professionally as the director of a non-profit and a middle school teacher. Now that she has retired, she focuses her efforts on writing. She has studied with Kelli Russell Agodon, Alice Derry, Holly Hughes, Susan Rich and Kim Stafford. Hietpas’ work has appeared in Minerva Rising, Tidepools, Spindrift and New Plains Review.

Originally from the Midwest, Michael Haeflinger is the author of two chapbooks, Love Poem for the Everyday (2011) and The Days Before (2014), both from Dog On A Chain Press. In 2016, he released Let’s Don’t Be Crazy, a spoken word and music album. He is the recipient of the Rutgers-Camden Award for Community Engagement (2013), The Amocat Award for Community Engagement (2017), and a Tacoma Arts Initiative Program Award (2015). He is the Executive Director for Write253, a literary arts organization in Tacoma, WA.

Robert Lashley is a writer and activist whose  was a 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Truat Fellow, and a nominee for a Stranger Genius Award. He has had work published in The Seattle Review of Books, NAILED,  Poetry Northwest, McSweeney’s, and The Cascadia Review. His poetry was also featured in such anthologies as Many Trails to The Summitt, Foot Bridge Above The Falls, Get Lit,  Make It True, and It Was Written. His previous books include THE HOMEBOY SONGS (Small Doggies Press, 2014), and UP SOUTH (Small Doggies Press, 2017). In 2019, The Homeboy Songs was named by Entropy Magazine as one of the 25 most essential books to come out of the Seattle area.

Poetry Workshop with avery r. young

See the source imageJoin Blue Cactus Press in welcoming writer, performer, educator and activist avery r. young to Tacoma in celebration of his new poetry book, neckbone, on April 5, 2020.

We’re incredibly lucky to have avery join us here in Tacoma, and are excited to announce that while he’s here, he’ll lead a small poetry workshop at 2pm at Defiance Square (a.k.a. Blue Cactus Press’ office). Please note that workshop space is limited, and registration is required. Cost for the poetry workshop is $25 per participant (registration fees go directly towards compensating the artist for his time and energy). Get more information and register for the workshop here.

Following the workshop, avery will hold a poetry reading and book signing at King’s Books at 5pm on the same day (April 5). The reading is FREE and open to the public. If you’ve never seen avery perform, you will be blown away. Do not miss this opportunity to see a nationally recognized and bomb-ass poet, activist and performer lay it down on the mic right here in Tacoma, or to create poems with him at the workshop!

Check out one of avery r. young’s performances here. 

About avery r. young:

Interdisciplinary artist avery r. young is a 3Arts Award winning teaching-artist, composer and producer with work that spans the genres of  music, performance, visual arts and literature. Examining and celebrating Black American history and culture, his work also focuses in the areas of social justice, equity,  queer identity, misogyny and body consciousness. As a writer, this Cave Canem alum has work featured The Breakbeat Poets, Coon Bidness, to be left with the body and Make Magazine.  He has also written curriculum and essay on arts education which appear in Teaching Artist Journal and A.I.M. Print.  Dubbed “sunday mornin jook joint,” his performance and work in sound design merges spiritual and secular aesthetics with dramatic and comedic sensibilities. He has performed in the Hip Hop Theater Festival, Wordstock and Lollapalooza. Has recorded with house producers Anthony Nicholson, Charlie Dark and is featured on recordings such as, New World Reveal-A-Solution, Audio Truism, Catfish Haven’s Devastator and New Skool Poetiks.  His new full-length release, booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid,  features songs and other sound designed created during his artist residency with the University of Chicago’s Arts and Public Life initiative.  It was during this residency that he worked worked on sound design and concrete poems called “cullud sign(s).” Through voice, sound, visual art and performance,  young is constantly exploring the forms and spaces in which poetry can exist. Most recently, he is the vocalist on flutist Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening (FPE Records) and his poetry is featured in photographer 3Arts Awardee, Cecil McDonald Jr.’s debut book, In the Company of Black (Candor Arts) and his first book neckbone (Northwestern University Press) will be available June 2019.  He is currently one of four directors for the Floating Museum and touring with his band avery r. young & de deacon board.