My contributions to the culture, 2016

2016 ended up being a difficult year: work that didn’t materialize, illness, car problems, and the death of Lucy, the world’s greatest alarm cat. And that’s just in my little world.

So, I figure I need to step back for a moment and reflect on the things I was able to accomplish:

Coffee Stains (January)
I published my sixth collection of poems on January 1st.

Featured reader, It’s About Time (February)
My first time as a featured reader was at It’s About Time, the long-running series at the Ballard Library. I read selections from all of my poetry collections to that point. I thought it went very well.

Poets Against Hate (February)
I almost missed this one because of a scheduling conflict—but, thanks to a heads-up from my friend Lola Peters, I was able to participate in this gathering of 40 poets at the Central Library in Downtown Seattle. I chose to read my poem ‘I have questions’. Video of the event was subsequently posted on the Seattle Channel website.

‘Super Tuesday’ (March)
As returns came in from the primaries taking place on Super Tuesday, it became clear that our current president-elect was doing quite well. Using Propellerhead’s Figure on my iPhone, I created a noisy, discordant piece of musical gloom-and-doom.

Featured reader, PoetsWest (March)
Rescheduled from the previous month because of the conflict with Poets Against Hate, this one was a decidedly mixed affair. One of the other featured readers took up an inordinate amount of time, with the ultimate result being that I had to cut short my second slot so that I could make another reading at the opposite end of town. I thought my reading went well, but it was an extremely aggravating afternoon—aggravating enough that I skipped the reading I had planned to go to the next day.

‘Dear Tuesday…’ (March)
In between colds and copy editing, I finally published the second volume in the Love Notes to the Days of the Week series.

National Poetry Writing Month 2016 (April)
For the fourth year in a row, I participated in ‘NaPoWriMo’. This time around, I incorporated it into my monthly writing challenge, using all of the prompts—whether I liked them or not.

‘Looking-glass chamber’ (April)
The result of editing together two or three pieces recorded using Propellerhead Figure on my iPhone, this piece of music is quieter, more reflective.

2016 Poetry Marathon (August)
I participated in—and completed—the half-marathon portion of this year’s online event, writing and posting 12 new poems in 12 hours. The first of the day’s poems, ‘The doors on the right will open’, appears in the recently published anthology, The 2016 Poetry Marathon Anthology.

Clay? VI at Kirkland Arts Center (August/September)
I responded to a call for writers to create new pieces based on works displayed as part of the Clay? VI exhibition, submitting two poems. Both poems (‘Entanglement’ and ‘Survey the damage’) were displayed with the corresponding pieces from late August through the exhibition’s close on September 10.

This Is Fifty-three (August)
At the end of August, I published my seventh collection of poems—this one five months in the making. The bulk of my efforts went towards a full-color edition, with photographs and/or graphics accompanying each poem. Since color is expensive, I also produced a more ‘standard’ edition, without the photos and graphics, and printed in black-and-white.

Ekphrastic Assimilations (August/September)
I wrote poems for most of the artwork on display at VALA Art Center in Redmond, WA. Though the exhibition did not open until mid-September, the website went up in August, with an open invitation for writers to post work based on the individual pieces. I was not a participant in the gallery exhibit itself, but thanks to the ties between VALA and the Redmond Association of Spokenword (RASP), I had several chances to view the artwork in person. The poems I submitted will remain on the website as long as it is online.

‘I’ve gone too far to turn back now’ and ‘The corners of My Room (2016 remaster)’ (September)
‘I’ve gone too far to turn back now’ is a moody, dark ambient piece, again assembled from pieces created in Propellerhead Figure, then combined with a field recording I made of a droning noise near a pipe at the University Book Store in Seattle. ‘The corners of My Room’ is an ambient collage I assembled in 2001 from an unreleased album made by a friend of mine. Though I no longer have my copy of that album, I do still have the CD3 I made of this collage; after making a few small edits, I decided to release it.

‘Dear Wednesday…’ (November)
This time around, I did not wait several months to publish the latest volume in the Love Notes… series. Instead, I published within three weeks of finishing the third year of entries.

As the year comes to an end, I am working on my next poetry collection, …but for the thoughts running through my mind, which I expect to publish in January.

Let us hope 2017 turns out better than we expect.

(6 December 2016)