Christmas Letter 2015

 

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Will Ferrell as “Buddy” in “Elf”, 2003

Round and Round

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THE EYES OF “CHARLIE HEBDO” EDITOR STEPHANE CHARBONNIER APPEAR AT AN ANTI-TERRORISM RALLY IN PARIS, FRANCE. JAN 2015

2015 seems like an amplified version of 2014 don’t you think?  Except this year we had the added entertainment of an American Presidential race, promotional “stuff” for another Star Wars movie a la Disney, Kim’s booty and the Pope’s world tour to distract us.  Finally, sick of the violence and injustice, MORE citizens took to the streets!  From Paris, to South Carolina’s Ravenel Bridge to Bellingham Washington, citizens unified in mass against war, terrorism, police violence, and the environment.  Round and round we go.

 

With only a few days left in 2015 it seems the right time to write a Christmas Letter.  My mom use to mail an end-of-the-year letter to family and friends, near and far, sharing the highlights of our family’s year.  It is in that spirit that I write to you today.

mtgcom_arcana_1240_pic1_enPerhaps you treat these letters like fruit cake.  If that’s the case then I leave you here, in the third paragraph, simply wishing you & yours a happy, warm holiday and prosperous new year.  Also, it’s important for me to add a BIG Thank You!  Thank you for visiting my page and buying SPL poetry.

However, if curiosity is creeping around your ankles, making it’s way up the leg, securing you in your seat for, say, the next five minutes, then I welcome your company. Nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.  You are a “happy personal association” and I welcome your presence.

My Christmas Card movie features the SPL staff at it again.  This year we are working as a team to beautify our surroundings, sharing the joy with our neighbors.  Living on the 48th parallel our winters are long and dark.  The sun sets about 4:30 pm and stays down until 8 in the morning.  A string of lights is helpful, happy and welcomed.

Blessings to you and yours & Happy 2016!

~Shannon, Brad, Vince, Robert & Chris.

(Click our photo to watch our home movie)

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SPL Staff, l to r, Chris Pine, Brad Pitt, Shannon Laws, Robert Downey Jr, Vin Diesel

 My Poetic 2015

The year started off in PEACE.  On New Years Eve World Peace Poets, Betty, Carla, C.J., Carol and I met at the “Peace Pole” in Fairhaven with another group for peace.  We lit candles at dusk, tossed paper crane prayers into the sea, then joined hands in a moment of prayer for the new year.

new years 2015

Later in February all FIVE of the “Peace Sisters” published “Peace Poems, Vol I”.  We included an award ceremony with the book launch.  There are many people in Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C. who stand for peace and understanding.  We wanted to recognize them as “Ambassadors of Peace”

 

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Recipients (sitting) and readers at the World Peace Poets Award ceremony event, Bellingham, WA

World Peace Poets encourage harmony through words for international writers and promote public readings.

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In March my poem “Voice on the Trail” was accepted for a wall display in the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company’s “A Night at the Gallery”

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In April I joined in the celebration of “The Bard of Bellingham’s” book launch!  Beloved +80 yr old Jim Milstead, a well known poet, (finally) released the much anticipated book of poetry “Collage”. Congrats Jim!

JimMilstead booklaunch

 

 

 

 

 

poet gallery

For a second time, it was my (well-protected) pleasure to feature at Western Washington University’s Erotic Poetry Night.  Such a fun time!3950_eroticpoetrynight_poster

In May I read at Erica Reed’s Poetry Gallery, representing Village Books Poetry Group.  This new, quarterly event allows each of the over 22 poetry groups in the Bellingham area to share for 3-5 minutes.  It’s a night of cross-pollination, networking and good words.  Erica plans on continuing this event into 2016.  Look for it in the community calendars!

 

June: after an exhilarating experience reading on a street corner for the Bike/Poetry Seattle group Mob Rolls in May, I was hit by lightning!  Putting in a call with the Downtown POETS CORNER JUNEBellingham Partnership, “Poets’ Corner” was born!  An exciting new living art display for Art Walk participants.  Poets take over a corner, read to the passing masses! Poets’ Corner ran from June-November, co-hosted by Lucas Nydam.  It is a fun experiment.  Due to the winter weather it is currently on hiatus until April 1, 2016.

Featuring for Everett Poetry Night and Poetry Night in Bellingham  within seven days of each other was stimulating to say the least.  The audience was warm and accepting, and my books sold!  This was my first year featuring for open mics.The change of perspective, audience member to performer, was refreshing.  Am I ready for more?  I hope so.  It’s a great responsibility to feature.  The high is amazing and I hope to do it more in 2016.62215 poetrynight

cafezippy june 2015

For July I found myself reaching into new physical and emotional territory.  The Lament for the Dead was an 2015 on-line movement about personalizing the victims of police violence.  My poem “Wallow in Ashes” was accepted.  Also, I returned to my old stomping grounds South King County as a feature poet for Auburn Days.  One of my goals for 2015 was to feature outside of Bellingham.  I am thankful to Everett and Auburn for letting a circuit-newbie take the stage.


RADIO

0502131339aJuly marked the end of my time at KMRE 102.3 SPARK Radio.  I started volunteering with SPARK back in 2011 producing the classic blues show “The Playhouse” that features the blues from 1920-70’s, and occasionally stepping in as an afternoon LIVE DJ, running the “Board of Doom”.  Later, in 2013,  Jonathan Winter asked me to help him with a show he envisioned where folks that love music share their music story.  The New Americana Hour was born!  In addition to those two programs I also recorded local poets for an award winning feature called “Poetic Moments”.  You can learn more about my radio time at KMRE here.  What a wonderful family the Museum of Electrical Invention is!  It was hard to say good-bye, but I am thankful to of worked beside some of the northwest’s most influential, giving, and creative characters.

We put together a “Best Of” show as a Thank You & Farewell~

Listen to it now:

https://newamericanahour.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/the-best-of-2013-2015-show-311/


September the Peace Sisters were recognized for their publication and “Read-In” events by Writers International Network .  The ceremony was held in Richmond, British Columbia along with recipient poets and artists from India, Mexico, Korea, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.  I am moved and very thankful to WIN for this award.

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Community Champion Award 2015

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October was an amazing month.  October 2015 marked my fifth year in Bellingham.  I am touched by the kindness this community has shown me. I wanted to give back and do it the “Bellingham Way” = do it for charity.

I wanted to coordinate a musical album featuring artists from Bellingham and Seattle, but would any band want to be on it?  And WHAT charity would be the benefactor? Then, these two questions were answered within a week of each other.  Many band members I contacted grew up with music in the home and/or were introduced to music through a school program.  These programs cost money.  Blue Skies for Children helps low-income, homeless and foster children in Whatcom County with music lessons and musical instrument rentals.  The 17 bands that donated songs to this album are “paying it forward” for future musicians.   In October “Blue Skies for Bellingham” was released in time for the Blue Skies for Children charity auction.

Please consider purchasing a copy today via the albums Bandcamp site ( https://blueskiesforbellingham.bandcamp.com/ )  Click on the photo below to learn more:

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The bands: Arthur James (Seattle), Baltic Cousins (Bellingham), Hillary Susz (Bellingham/Colorado), Hot Damn Scandal (Bellingham), Lipbone Redding (World Traveler), Lucas Hicks (Bellingham), Meghan Yates & The Reverie Machine (Bellingham/Maine), Mts. & Tunnels (Bellingham), Mudflat Walkers (Skagit Valley), Polecat (Bellingham), Prozac Mtn Boys (Bellingham), Robt Sarazin Blake (Bellingham), Spyn Reset (Seattle), The Bad Tenants (Bellingham), The Copacetics (Twisp), and The Sky Colony (Skagit Valley).

“This album together with the original cover art by esteemed painter/musician Meghan Yates, are submissions for Blue Skies for Children’s Annual Dinner and Charity Auction. All seventeen bands are from Bellingham or frequent the Bellingham area.
All proceeds go to the Our Little Wishes Instrument Loaner and Enrichment Programs. These programs provide local homeless, low-income and foster children ages six to eighteen for music lessons and musical instrument rental to help increase hope and raise self-esteem.”

Also in October World Peace Poets hosted our 3 rd annual “Read-In”.  November and December I read at a new hookah bar Cafe Bouzingo, and the first “Noisy Waters” reading at the Mt. Baker Encore Room, and returned to Auburn to feature at the Auburn Arts Association Poetry Open Mic.

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Fall 2016 I’ll release my third poetry book “Fallen” and I hope to get more feature gigs on the books.  I also have a few secret projects I’m working on–one includes a phone booth, another a hair artist, painter and fifty sets of crunches a day, and a NEW radio program for KVWV, Bellingham.  My body, mind and spirit in top form—yep. That’s what I’m looking forward to in ’16.

Thanks for walking with me through this year.  (dang that took a long time!)  Have I mentioned how THANKFUL I am?

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Poem: Peek-A-Boo

 

 

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~For Danny & Ethan

That one time we learned if we stopped seeing

something—it was really gone.

Then that other time when we discover that was a lie.

Let me teach you peek-a-boo

cover your eyes

I’m gone.

Uncover

I’m back.

How strange to be gone in a minute!  A man signs a shovel

and so he digs, hangs a shingle, rolls up sleeves

There is work to do

Work turns into writing a name for a day

It is his name all over the page

It always will be.

Someone

is having a birthday and someone is getting married

somewhere someone is telling a joke, somewhere

Danny is leaving my town, my coast

Danny, the man who works,

writes his name on the page

When I require some heavenly music,

which even now I do, I will sing his song and look to the east

This pencil I used to write his poem

I’ll break in half and plant at either side of the path

One side will grow strength the other kindness

In the morning, not any time, but the purple-sky time

when dark retreats into peek and before a sun lifts boo over the Cascades

I’ll visit the trees and declare their positions right and true

Good bye and Good luck my poet brother!

Treat them well New Hampshire

or the gods of the west will visit you!

 

by Shannon Laws | July 20, 2015  |  With a wink to Ted Berrigan’s “A Final Sonnet”

 

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Ethan and Danny, who in addition to moving to New Hampshire at the end of July for work and a Masters degree, announced that they got married at the court house five days prior. Congrats!

Event: Poetry Night

Click HERE to listen 

You’re invited~

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Last December I was on the Poetry Night calendar as a featured poet, but out-of-town family stuff spirited me away at the last moment.  Poetry Night, in all it’s grace, has allowed me a “make-up” event.  
Hope to see you all there!
Thank you Poetry Night staff,
SPL

Details

Mon, June 22, 8pm – 10pm

Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225

Doors and sign-up at 7:45 pm. Poetry begins at 8:00pm sharp! Bring poetry and feel free to sign up to read it! (3 min readings)

Event host is Danny Canham

Featured poet is Shannon P. Laws Free to the public, but we do pass a jar around to collect donations to help pay for things like visiting poets and the occasional publication.

Learn more about tonight’s feature and our other projects at: http://poetrynight.org

Event: Three Poetry Host

3 poets Launch sept 2014_SLaws

 

You’re invited…

My new poetry book, Odd Little Things, will officially launch September 6, 2014 at Village Books, 4-5:00.  Please join me and my two poet-sisters, Carla Shafer and Erica Reed as we share our poetry.  Books will be  available for purchase and sign at the event.

Three’s COMPANY

I asked Carla and Erica to join me in my celebratory hour, mainly because I am a fan of their work, both on paper and within the community.  Carla’s graceful, intelligent writing makes me marvel at life’s organized beauty.  Erica is more like a surgeon with her pen, digging into areas of the heart and mind, exposing those delicate memories that need to be explored.

These woman are outstanding pillars in the writer community.  They care, they listen, they show up.  Dedicated to keeping the writing arts alive in Bellingham, Carla and Erica create platforms for area artist to express themselves; with projects like Fairhaven Art Block, writing poetry by request at the Farmer’s Market, and  Read-ins for Peace.

 

 

 

Poetry: Robert Lashley

“Boards occupy a space between the mind and
the construction of the temporal. Cadences.” R.Lashley

Robert Lashley Robert Lashley Robert Lashley

Lace covered lamp shade winks
As you walk toward the mic
Ceiling fan squeaks approval of your presence
Coffee shop poets snap anticipation
As your hand finds your poem
In a notebook of poems

Noble Prince of Poetry
Royal Performer of Words
National Manager of Thoughts
Country Jester of Meters
Fair Dancer of Rhythms

My Robert, dear Robert,
Your words are like a UFO
Sky chariot swooping down
To take Elijah home to the heavens
You pick us up and take our minds
To another place
To a new place
To a place, we did not know exist,
Nor did we ever want to go there, until now

Robert Lashley:
Please walk that cocky walk to the mic
Please look over your book at us
Wondering if our minds are ready for
The mind-whooping we are about to receive
Please take more than three minutes
And please, please, share one – more – poem
Royal Robert, Prince of Poetry
You are a rock in the river
Dividing it left and right
Changing the way it flows
On its way to a very big ocean
*** 

***
 *you can hear Robert Lashley most Monday nights at Poetry Night, 7:30
at the Black Drop Coffeehouse, 300 West Champion Street


Poetry: Perhaps

It’s Monday and a great day for art and poetry!  Every Monday night is Poetry Night open mic in downtown Bellingham.  Last week Robert gave out a prompt that I couldn’t resist: What should be done with your body upon your death.  All week I’ve been thinking about this.  What writer doesn’t enjoy writing or thinking about death- the last great unknown.  After all it’s the ending of the story that has the most power to the reader.  Perhaps writers would like to think they have some control over HOW they die, as they may with their characters?  I wrestled with all sort of ideas and came up with this:

Perhaps

Where my body lies
Perhaps some purple crocus
Will mark my grave
Only exposing the location
Once a year in early March.
Bud-green stalks
Protruding out about
A slushy snow

Where my body lies
Perhaps a coyote
Will come by for brunch
Munch on my decayed muscle,
Cracking the bone
For it’s sweet marrow.
That night when it howls
Nose pointed upward
My soul will follow suit,
Floating towards the moon

Where my body lies
Perhaps a condor
Will pick my bones clean
On a warm canyon floor,
Saving the smaller pieces
For its nesting babes.
Larger chunks, to big to carry
dark and red, sun themselves
As they recline against
speckled stones

Wherever I land
Perhaps even in a coffin,
Tombstone to mark it or not,
I hope an impression
That a body lays beneath
Would be noticed
Would be heard
Would be stirred
Back into the world
To which I was born