SOUL Food Poetry Night

Join Blue Cactus Press at SOUL Food Poetry Night for an evening of readings featuring Blue Cactus Press authors, followed by an open mic. Featured readers include Yousef Allouzi, Christina Butcher, Robert Lashley, Kellie Richardson and Michael Haeflinger. BCP will have books available for purchase and signing at the event.

About the Readers:

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.

Christina Butcher is a Chicana poet, publisher and veteran from New Mexico. She’s also a teaching artist with Write253 and a bookseller at King’s Books in Tacoma, WA.

Michael Haeflinger is a poet and author of two chapbooks, Love Poem for the Everyday (2011) and The Days Before (2014). He is the Executive Director for Write253, a literary arts organization in Tacoma, WA.

Robert Lashley is a writer and activist, as well as a 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Truat Fellow, and a nominee for a Stranger Genius Award.

Kellie Richardson is a writer, artist and educator from Tacoma, Washington. She served as the Tacoma Poet Laureate from 2017 – 2019, holding and curating spaces that centered Black, Brown, and LGBTQ voices.

Winter Garden Poetry Series

This Winter, Lakewold Gardens is partnering with Write 253 to host a Poetry Series featuring local poets reading their work in the Wagner House at Lakewold Gardens! Each event has two featured poets with a youth poet opening. At the end the poets will stick around for a Q&A. On February 16, publisher and poet Christina Butcher, former Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson, and poet James Santana will all read at the gardens. This reading will also be recorded and shared on the Prickly Pear Podcast. Please see the full lineup of poets and perfomances below:

Jan 19 — Abby Murray (Tacoma Poet Laureate) and Mare Hake (Tahoma Literary Review)

Jan 26 — William Kupinse and Natalie Scenters- Zapico (Professors at Puget Sound)

Feb 16 — Christina Butcher (Blue Cactus Press) and Kellie Richardson (Former Tacoma Poet Laureate)

Feb 23 — Kristen Orlando (SAMi Humanities Teacher) and Kevin Miller (Local Published Poet)

*Books / the event poster (freshly pressed in a limited edition run by the Write253 Pop Up Print Shop at the Washington State History Museum) will be for sale.

⫸ The suggested donation is 10 dollars per event. ⫷

A Night of Poetry with Kellie Richardson, Robert Lashley, and Nicole McCarthy



Join us on January 30th as we welcome three local poets to share some of their latest work.

KELLIE RICHARDSON is a writer, artist and educator born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Her work explores the intersection of race, class, and gender. Kellie has authored two books, The Art of Naming My Pain (2019), a collection of poetry, prose and collage; and her debut poetry collection, What Us Is (2017). She also served as Tacoma Poet Laureate from 2017-2019. Kellie is particularly inspired and called to explore the experiences of women of color, and the intersectionality of identities.

ROBERT LASHLEY is a writer and activist, as well as a 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award. Robert Lashley 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).

NICOLE MCCARTHY earned her MFA from the University of Washington Bothell. Her work has appeared in The OffingRedividerGlass: a Journal of PoetryThe Shallow EndsGhost ProposalMoonchild MagazineMemoir Mixtapes, Civil Coping Mechanism’s A Shadow Map anthology, the 2018 Best American Experimental Writing anthology and others. Her work has also been performed and encountered as projection installation pieces throughout Tacoma and Seattle and her written work can be found at She is a 2018 Artist Trust GAP award recipient.