“You can sign-up to read or sing your words on peace at firstname.lastname@example.org …We are very excited about this year’s line-up of international readers, but there’s still lots of room. Please send us an e-mail or call me so we can give you a time. I will send out the schedule on October 1, 2016.” -Carla Shafer
The 10 line poem above was written by 10 people in this way. Each line created with only the previous line as an inspiration. I wrote the first line, then passed to the left. What an interesting path the story takes!
The technique was invented by surrealists and is similar to an old parlor game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. Breton said the diversion started about 1925, but Pierre Reverdy wrote that it started much earlier, at least before 1918.
In a variant now known as picture consequences, instead of sentences, portions of a person are drawn.
World Peace Poets’ Fourth Annual
READ-IN FOR WORLD PEACE
World Peace Poets’ Fourth Annual Read-In! Write-On!
Saturday, September 24, 2015, Doors Open at 5:00 PM
This is a FREE and public event with special musical guests. A light supper will be served at 5:30 along with coffee & tea.
Readers sign-up: Anyone who would like to present 5 minutes on sharing their definition of peace is welcome to sign up now, until all slots are filled, at email@example.com and an approximate time will be assigned to each one, or you can request one.
For more information, or to sign up to read or perform, contact
Carla at: worldpeacepoets at gmail.com
Participants in the 2016 and 2015 World Peace Poet Read-In will be eligible to submit original work for Volume Two of the “Peace Poems” book, to release in 2017!
If you didn’t get the 2013-2014 Vol I edition you can pick up a copy on Amazon by visiting this site:
July 20, 1-3 p.m., Songwriting (with Geof Morgan),
July 27, 10 a.m.-noon, Writing – all types (with Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor)
August 3, 10 a.m.-noon, Poetry (with Susan Chase-Foster)
Also, there will be a call for Peace Arts poems, essays, posters, and comics for Peace. The call seeks works that update the message on the need for peace in this world at this time. Submission guidelines will be issued August 1, 2016 and the deadline for submissions August 31, 2016. All submissions will be presented and celebrated on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the annual World Peace Poets Read-in and through November.
“Culture is the space in our national consciousness filled by music, books, sports, movies, theater, visual arts, and media. It is the realm of ideas, images, and stories — the narrative in which we are immersed every day. It is where people make sense of the world, where ideas are introduced, values are inculcated, and emotions are attached to concrete change. Cultural change is often the dress rehearsal for political change. Or put in another way, political change is the final manifestation of cultural shifts that have already occurred.”
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.
Perhaps 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)
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.
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”
World Peace Poets encourage harmony through words for international writers and promote public readings.
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”
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!
For a second time, it was my (well-protected) pleasure to feature at Western Washington University’s Erotic Poetry Night. Such a fun time!
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 Bellingham 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.
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.
July 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?
This is the other poem I read at the 3rd annual World Peace Poets Read-In. At this event I like to be the last poet to read. These Read-In’s go for about three to six hours, so, a bit of humor at the end is helpful. My prose poem “Epiphany Me” uses crude language but it is a down-to-earth account of me trying to figure life out AND find some peace (and quiet). It was also a blast to perform. Enjoy- SPL
One time I pee’d at the same time my upstairs neighbor turned on his shower.
Another time, I sneezed at the same moment a car backfired.
Yesterday, while walking I farted loudly, normally noticeable, except it was the same moment an engineer blew the train’s whistle.
One time, while walking along the sidewalk, I had an epiphany at the exact instant a low-speed rear-end collision occurred. It was just violent enough that I forgot what I had just realized.
With intense drive and meditation I tried to recall that epiphany to further my journey on the globe.
When it came around—
When I was so close to realizing its identity, again, a child fell and cried causing such a commotion that I forgot—AGAIN!
I farted, anything to reenact the path to minor enlightenment a third time.
And then it happened. At the same exact instant a breeze from the south kicked at my neighbors wind chime.
“This year at the 3rd annual World Peace Poets “Read-In for Peace” event I read the poem pasted below. It stems from a moment in a day when, perhaps, you realize the day will continue whether or not you join it; the clock does not stop, and time marches on. A simple fact of our universe is that the planets will always spin. There is more to say, but maybe the poem will tell you how I found a moment of peace.” ~SPL
Musicians, poets and lovers of peace please join us for the 3rd annual Read-In! This is a FREE and public international event. Sign up today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a five minute slot to share what peace means to you. The read in ends when the last poet speaks. A light supper and refreshments will be served.
Writers International Network Canada’s Award Night
Words Across Borders!
World Peace Poets Bellingham founders, Carla Shafer, C.J. Prince, Betty Scott and Shannon Laws, will be recognized for their community contributions during a celebration and award ceremony on September 19, 2015 hosted by Writers International Network in British Columbia.
There will be poetry, light refreshments and other special entertainment.
“Thank you Ashok and WIN for this award. It is a great honor.”
The first thing I thought when I met C. J. about two years ago was “Who are you and how do I get to know you more?” Love at first sight you might say. Her colorful personality, bubbling energy and big smile are completely addicting.
This August she released her new poetry book “Mother, May I”. Reviews are already out:
“A brilliant, intricately woven rendition of stigmas, family rules, love and pain that stains the soul.” ~Una Bruhns, Poet, Creative Writer, Vancouver, BC, Canada
“…In this autobiographical collection abounding in images from BB guns to drowned kittens, the shadow cast by her mother, “born too early for the age of Aquarius,” inhabits the pages either as a bodily presence, a memory, or as a ghost who is “not here” but “everywhere…” ~Paul Fisher, Bellingham, Washington, author of Rumors of Shore
Congratulations on the release of your new poetry book “Mother, May I”. What’s it about?
“Mother, May I?” is a selection of poems that primarily reveal the relationship between myself and my mother. I had no intention of writing it but discovered after a number of years that there were many mother poems, enough for a poetry book. Some of the poems are not obvious, written in second or third person.
C. J., you seem to overflow with inspiration. I’m curious, what does your writing process look like?
My writing is a glass of water on a hot day. I gulp down words. The Muse comes with pitchers full and without regard for my lifestyle. Her words flood my mind while I’m teaching Tai Chi and I turn aside and write for never will she allow them again unless she is honored. She wakes me in the middle of the night. She especially likes to ride along the lake. I keep a notebook open to a blank page so I can scribble a few lines at a stop light.
You write about domestic, psychological subjects, deep stuff. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
“Mother, May I?” deals with factual situations as perceived by a child and remembered as an adult. I think anyone who had a difficult relationship with her mother will identify on some level. The specifics may not be the same but the concepts exist. There is only one answer, self-forgiveness and self-love. Then forgiving and loving others is easy.
When people ask what I write about, I laugh and say “Sex and death.” Pretty much that and everything in between.
My next novel, working title “Stepping Up”, deals with women’s issues of abuse and how one woman finds the courage to heal herself and recover.
Oh—what would I never write about? Never say never. I like reading mysteries and thought about writing one. Then I asked myself if I really wanted to spend all that time on something gruesome. No. What I’d probably never write about is necrophilia.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
I’ve always said my favorite author is the one I’m reading. Having reviewed books on goodreads.com for years, I discover that I’m a tad pickier now than that. Plus I’ve been in several excellent book groups in Bellingham and that adds to my ability to discern.
Currently I am in a head space to avoid literary and deep works. So I read mysteries lite. I’m on the 26th Hamish Macbeth book by M. C. Beaton. Knowing I’m coming to the end of the series, I started reading the alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton, set in Santa Teresa, modeled on my home town of Santa Barbara. Plus I read poetry every night before I go to sleep. Have been captured by Billy Collins lately.
What is your background in the arts?
My grandmother was an artist. She taught me to draw when I was a child sitting at her pink Formica kitchen table waiting for chocolate chip cookies to come out of the oven. I didn’t have an art class until 7th grade. I was too insecure in high school and college to take art. Then I took life drawing and oil and acrylic studies at various colleges and universities as I moved around. I now paint in oil, work with photography, which I did study in college, and mixed media. I have five spinning wheels, four looms and endless knitting needles. There is no limit. I’m learning how to needle felt. Have a great design in my mind. Now to make it into a reality.
What are you up to when you’re not writing?
I teach Yang Style Tai Chi, 24, 48, 37 and 108 forms plus Qigong in Sudden Valley. I also teach seated Tai Chi to memory care residents at Highgate Senior Living in Bellingham. I’m learning more and more vegan recipes and love to cook. I walk my two Papillons. I garden. I am a compulsive knitter. Last winter I was on a hat binge, creating the perfect hat for my son. It took perhaps a dozen before we found the comfortable combination for him. It was great fun. Mostly I knit socks in my default mode. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was four. I’ve had four needles in my hands ever since.
I facilitate two practice writing groups and attend one writing critique group. Some say writing is a solitary practice. That first flush of words, direct from the lips of the Muse, are mostly received in private. After that it takes a village to create a book.
I usually read at Village Books open mic on the last Monday of the month and at Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theatre on the second Wednesday of the month. I am pleased with the new venue in Sudden Valley called Creekside Open Mic on the third Wednesdays of the month. I’m looking forward to World Peace Poets on September 19, 2014.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
If you want to write, write. Too many people think the first words on paper have to be publishable. Think of it as a Buddhist practice. Write 10,000 times, publish once.
Bellingham is a mecca for creative people. There are many writing groups. Go for it. Everyone has a unique vision of the world, a personal perception that no one else can duplicate. Just do it. Write now. Check out my Facebook page “Writing Prompts.”
Keep a journal. Write a poem a day for National Poetry Month in April. Write a post card a day with Postcard Poetry Fest in August. Write.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I mentioned the novel. I have three more hiding away that need high revision but “Stepping Up” will be the next one. But my immediate focus is to gather up stacks of poems and find some way to assemble them into my next book. My current natural format seems to be poetry. If I write a cool sentence, I pull it apart and let it tumble into a poem. Next month I will publish “Canvas Angels,” a novel under its own cover. It is currently available in “Catching My Breath,” three novels, three authors, three women, one town.
There is something about the precision, the minute detail that calls up the pollen of a flower or the breath of midnight, only a poem captures essence.