Event: Poets’ Corner







UPDATE: This event is a success and still happening every month during Art Walk. The corner moves from time to time. Look for “Poet’s Corner” on the Art Walk map, walk by to enjoy some original words by your neighborhood poets!


Art Walk Bellingham

and the

Downtown Bellingham Partnership

present the first

Poets’ Corner!

Press release:

“The Bellingham Art Walk has long been enjoyed by many residents and visitors.  The city and a local poet are collaborating to bring poetry to the streets.  Downtown Bellingham Partnership, and 2013 Mayor’s Arts Award “Poet” recipient Shannon P. Laws present Poets’ Corner.This exciting new living art exhibit for Art Walk participants will be available on the corner of W. Holly and Bay Street.  Come on by to listen to original poetry by stellar poets on June 5th, 6:30-8:00 to support the debut of this literary event.

Shannon urges Bellingham poets to sign up for ten minute slots, “We are a city of passionate poets. Project your words to the universe! Engage with strangers, WOW them with words!”

June’s Poets’ Corner is sponsored by long time residents and art supporters Bert Monroe and Charles R. Dyer.

Date: June 5, 2015
Time: 6:30-8:00
Location: corner of W. Holly and Bay Street (by the Rocket)
Price: FREE”


While sharing poetry in the streets for the SPOKE N’ WORD MOBRolls event last month, Bellingham’s Art Walk was also in full swing. Downtown was full of people.  I loved it!  The experience was so enjoyable I asked the Downtown Association if they would be open to a Poets’ Corner during Art Walk.  Lindsay Payne, the Art Walk coordinator, caught the vision, and now it is a reality.  Special thanks to poetry lovers Bert Monroe and Charles R. Dyer for donating the money that places Poets’ Corner on the Art Walk map for June!

This isn’t the first time I’ve shared poetry with strangers.  In 2013 I was one of many poets reading at the Fairhaven Art Block Party.  Carla Shafer had the wonderful idea of lining the two block pathway from the Lucia Douglas Gallery and the Firehouse Performing Arts Center with poet “stations.”  This neighborhood event included paintings, dance, music, food/drink, poetry and a very grumpy bear. I hope one day FAB will return.



The name of the event Poets’ Corner may ring a bell with some.  There is a famous poets’ corner in Westminster Abbey.  That section of the English church received the title because of the high number of poets, playwrights, and writers buried and commemorated there.  Geoffrey Chaucer, author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, diplomat, was the first in 1556.  Robert Adam, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, T.S. Elliot, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Macaulay, ,John Masefield, Laurence Olivier, Alfred Tennyson, to name a few, are also buried or memorialized there.
However, Bellingham’s corner will be full of LIVE poets, moving, walking and talking!

Memorials in Poets' Corner, Photo Credit Carcharoth (Commons)
Memorials in Poets’ Corner, Photo Credit Carcharoth (Commons)


Come on downtown!

Poetry: Walking Up Holly

The Maritime Heritage Park Fountain
and the Whatcom Museum
as seen from W. Holly Street
Sidewalk Desert
Walking up Holly Street
Life is alive with the living
Low tide wakes the senses
as mid-day traffic races by
Walk uphill towards Bay Street
Pass three homeless ones who 
wander camel-less like wise kings
searching for The Star
Man with a stroke-limp hobbles by
passing me on the right nods a hello
He fights each step for control
Warm smile in his eyes brings water to mine
A pink knit hat lays on the park lawn
No head wants to claim it theirs
too hot for anything knitted today
Farther up four coats lay out
on the curb like an offering of gortex.
Perhaps a Samaritan placed them
there early before work

Tea House Oasis
I walk in the sunshine
I walk in the wind
I walk when it’s green
I stop when it’s red
Inside the cafe I sip green tea
from a cup with no handles
at a table for six,
occupied by three
Warm tea on a warm day
I am comforted by the branches
moving in the wind outside
blown by Earth’s cool breath

Poetry: Brick

“Bay Street Brick
is what I am.
Over 100 years old
painted thirty-two times.
“Worn down, graffitied
Rain and wind
have tried their best to dissolve me,
none more effective than time
“This archaic building needs me no more!
It could still stand strong
with the absence of ONE.
The Builders that placed
me here did wrong”
“Bay Street Brick,
a vacation I  need!
Perhaps to be a part of
a patio in Costa Rica,
or the frame of a family’s backyard BBQ?
“I could retire in a
garden wall with a view
of a timbered Tudor home.
“If I had legs to travel on,
or a mason to see my true potential
Hands to move me about the globe”
“You dream too loud!”
Scream the other bricks,
“Don’t demean your position.
You are directly at a pressure point
holding up the wall
“If you left the strain would be too much.
This building would fall into the street-
the building that is US!
“Crushing passers-by,
the Builders that walk by us all hours
the Wise Ones that placed us”
The Bay Street Brick
considers the words of his
brothers and sisters born of
the same mash
Gravity pressing all five sides
Painted face hidden behind
too many of other’s… colors
“US is stronger than one” it says,
“Travel is only afforded
those with Legs of Men”
Brick becomes quiet, withdraws
Folds aways its vision of vacation
holds the building up another 100 years,
in sleep…