Tina Schumann



You know how the world comes at you like that?
You’re driving down some tree-lined street
with Vivaldi or Corelli
lilting their way from the radio.
The sun casting prisms on the leaves,
the leaves easy in their fall.
All questions have quieted.
You are convinced that even the asphalt is happy
to be what it is: solid, stoic, the backbone of a day.
Up ahead the next three lights are green,
you are passing the school yard at St. Paul’s
and all the kids in their blue and green uniforms
are bright angels, bearers of light.
There goes Stone Way Cleaners where they are steaming and pressing,
steaming and pressing just for you. The world is stuck
on go, proceed, avanti. No one could imagine
how enlightened you’ve become
in the cabin of your car, on the rim of tears
with your velocity of awe, your clarity at the wheel,
your rapid rolling toward some small truth, on and on like that.



Tina Schumann’s poem “Autumn” originally appeared in Harpur Palate. Her manuscript As If (Parlor City Press) was awarded the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize for 2010. Her work was a finalist in the 2011 National Poetry Series. She received the 2009 American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal and honorable mentions in The Atlantic Monthly 2008 Poetry Contest as well as the 2010 Crab Creek Review contest. She is a Pushcart nominee and holds an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University. Her poems have appeared in various publication including The American Poetry Journal, Ascent, Cimarron Review, PALABRA, PARABOLA, Poemeleon, Raven Chronicles and San Pedro River Review. She lives in Seattle.


Sue Boynton Poetry Contest. This contest is annual, Whatcom County only, all-ages, non-profit and currently (March 1-31) open for submissions. We have a DAILY blog on all-things-poetic, including extensive links and a page with a 12-month literary-events calendar for Washington state.

Esther Altshul Helfgott is teaching an ongoing class called “Poeming the Silence: A Women’s Writing Group.” Beginning & experienced writers welcome. The class uses poems to trigger writing in any form. Prior knowledge isn’t necessary. Tuesdays, 7 – 9 pm.

Poetry is Everything posted by Chris Jarmick lists a wide variety of Seattle Metro poetry events.

The 2012 Crab Creek Review’s Poetry Prize is currently underway! Winning Prize: $200 and publication in our journal. Finalists will also be published in Crab Creek Review and all poems submitted to the contest are considered for publication as well.

On Friday March 30, the Lit. Crawl is underway.  Doug Nufer will be with the Pageboy posse, 7:30 at the Bluebird, 1205 E. Pike.

Nico Vassilakis is curating a night of Sound Poetry, Friday, March 23, 2012 7-9P at Vermillion, 1508 11th Av, as a prelude to the Cascadia Poetry Festival.
Sound poetry is a primarily early 20th century invention merging new typographic potentials with performative oral expression in the form of poetic phonemes and letter sounds. This ultimately gave way to the creation of visual and concrete poetry. The evening will promote both historical scores as well as exploring new possibilities. This event intends to support and present sound poetry from current practitioners living in the northwest.
puget SOUND POETRY at Vermillion’s art bar, March 23rd 7-9pm, including: Cristin Miller, Molly Mac Fedyk, Ezra Mark, Crag Hill, Nico Vassilakis, Joe Milutis
Four Hoarse Men:   Greg Bem, Jason Conger, Paul Nelson
Interrupture:             Doug Nufer, Bryant Mason, Curtis Bonney, Kreg Hasegawa

Sage Hill Press is accepting manuscripts for the 2012 Powder Horn Prize, a first book award. Entrants should not previously have published a full-length manuscript.
Entry fee: $20; Entry deadline: June 1, 2012.

Rhymes with Everett:  Everett Public Library celebrates National Poetry Month on April 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm.  Come read your favorite poem.

Shin Yu Pai and Port Townsend poet Mike O’Connor will be reading at Open Books on March 22, 7:30 PM.

The Cascadia Poetry Festival seeks to examine the culture of this region (see map) by gathering poets from the California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, the Alaska panhandle and Western Montana at SPLAB, in the most diverse zip code in the U.S., to learn, share ideas and techniques, begin to discover the qualities of this bioregion and the possibilities for deeper connection between the inhabitants from all parts of the region. All access Gold Pass $50. March 23 – 25. 
SPLAB Location: 3651 S. Edmunds, Seattle, WA 98118


Student Poem


Hide and Seek
after a painting by William Merritt Chase

by Xuan Tran


Inside the dark
the girl is running
She passes the chair
She passes the door
Toward the curtain
Unknown to her
a pair of eyes
keep staring at her

The dark running chair
The door passes the girl
Inside the curtain
The unknown eyes
staring toward the room

A dark girl
stares at the door
Unknown to the curtain
The room passes the eyes
Towards the chair

The running curtain
Keeps passing the chair
The girl stares
at the unknown eyes
A pair of darkness

Passing the door
A pair of eyes
The room stares
toward the dark
The girl inside the chair


Xuan Tran is a student at Seattle World School, formerly the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center.  Xuan wrote “Hide and Seek” during an after-school poetry class offered by the Vietnamese Friendship Association and the Jack Straw Foundation.

Samuel Green


My Mother, Fetching a Switch

By now she knows that just because it’s thin
doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, that green is better
than dead & dried. She needs to choose
between the hot sting of a wasp, or a dull
deep ache that lasts for days, bruises the color
of certain pears when they ripen. There are the canes
of big leaf maple, willow, alder, the straight suckers
from apple or plum in the orchard. She knows to peel
bark from the wand & shave the nodes flush
to the stem with whatever knife she’s given
from pocket or kitchen drawer. Her first switch
left her bloody, left a web of tiny white scars fine
as lace in the doilies her sisters sometimes helped her
make. Once she brought her father a long whip
of pussy willow with the soft toes of catkins
left on. He laughed so hard he let her off. A second try
made him madder. Once she split a thin strip of cedar
from a shake bolt, lighter than lath; her mother used the edge
like a dull blade. She knows to lift her dress waisthigh,
overalls unsnapped & dropped
to her ankles. Her father likes her
folded across a single knee & only strikes
the cheeks of her fanny. Her mother takes her
standing, feet apart, & whales at any skin
she sees: calves, her inner thighs. She knows
if she cries or squirms the blows come faster, last
longer, how anger travels into rage. She knows
exactly how long she has to find & shape
& fetch a switch to its waiting hand.
My grandparents think she’s learning
the wages of backsass, what happens
when you ride the stubborn donkey of disobedience,
but she is learning how short the pleasure is
when she flushes a rabbit from the brush,
that there isn’t quite time to wholly peel
& eat an apple before someone will come
looking for her, that no joy lasts long,
that—father, mother, lover—it is painful
to be alive. All she can do is choose
between one hurt or another.


Samuel Green was born in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, and raised in the nearby
fishing and mill town of Anacortes. After four years in the military, including service in
Antarctica and South Vietnam, he attended college under the Veterans Vocational
Rehabilitation Program, earning degrees from Highline Community College and
Western Washington University (B.A. & M.A.). A 36-year veteran as a Poet-in-the-
Schools, he has taught in literally hundreds of classrooms around Washington State. He
has also been a Visiting Professor at Southern Utah University, Western Wyoming
Community College, Colorado College, and served nine winter terms as Distinguished
Visiting Northwest Writer at Seattle University, as well as nine summers in Ireland.
Poems have appeared in hundreds of journals, including Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Poet &
Critic, Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and Puerto del Sol. Among his ten collections of poems are Vertebrae: Poems 1972-1994 (Eastern Washington University Press) and The Grace of Necessity (Carnegie-Mellon University Press), which won the 2008 Washington State Book Award for Poetry. He has lived for 29 years off the grid on remote Waldron Island off the Washington coast in a log house he built himself after living in a tent for three years. He is, with his wife, Sally, Co-Editor of the award-winning Brooding Heron Press, which produces fine, letterpressed volumes. In December, 2007, he was named by Governor Christine Gregoire to a two-year term as the Inaugural Poet Laureate for the State of Washington. In January of 2009, he was awarded a National
Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and was a member of the NEA’s poetry
panel for the 2011 fellowships.

Maureen McQuerry



There is a moment
when the creature seems to disappear.
Nothing remains, but a quivering
in the air, the invisible finger
that runs your ridge of spine.

My students ask if it hurts
to become another. We’ve read
the stories of humans furred,
flesh erupting to wings, or scales,
gill-gasp of transformation.

I tell them some are stories of pursuit,
a dove answered with a hawk,
a hare with greyhound as reply.
Pursuer and pursued, their deft dance
that ended once with a grain of corn,
swallowed by a hen who birthed
the storyteller, Taliesin.

But what the students want to know is pain.
That remembered moment when
quills pierce skin, fingernails bleed
to claws. Beyond the window
winter’s first kiss startles the grass with frost.

I tell them yes,
there is always pain at birth or when
our tent of flesh opens
like a door to the sky,
and something more, you must
lean close to hear
the single note of joy.


Maureen McQuerry is a Young Adult novelist, poet and teacher. The Peculiars, her YA Steampunk novel, debuts in May with Abrams/Amulet followed by Beyond the Door and Time Out of Time. She is also the author of two non-fiction books: Nuclear Legacy and Student Inquiry. Her poetry has been published in many literary journals including Smartish Pace, Quidditty and The Southern Review. Her chapbook Relentless Light was the winner of the New Eden Chapbook award. Maureen teaches writing at Columbia Basin College and lives with her family in Richland, Washington. “Shapeshifter” originally appeared in Endicott Review.

Dennis Caswell

Kandinsky: Composition 8, 1923


An explosion in Stravinsky’s robot workshop:
now poor Igor will never complete
his troupe of clockwork dancers, which,
judging from this jagged blast
of armatures, sprockets, escapements and flanges,
would have looked less like metal humans
than graceful assemblies of drafting supplies:
jeté of dividers, pas de bourrée
of mechanical pencils and pantographs.
This watchmaker’s orgasm, this architectural plan
for the Church of Dissonant Space Flight,
these mad extrusions and stampings and lathe-spun
lenses perform the airborne metal music
of migrating mathematics, honking along the flyways
of a just-manufactured heaven, a heaven
where twentieth-century robots can dance,
can fly, can worship
the innards that make them tick.


Dennis Caswell lives outside Woodinville, Washington and works as a software engineer in the aviation industry. Before that, he designed and programmed computer games and educational software. His work has appeared in Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, Burnside Review, Vain, and assorted other journals and anthologies.


Timothy Kelly




The stroke has left her listing
left, her left limbs lagging, and
we are trying to walk ten short
feet without her walker, using
an aluminum quad cane instead,
a new concept, and directing
her straight into a mirror so she
can appreciate the asymmetries
of her gait, and be cued to look
ahead instead of irremediably
at the floor. She remembers
nothing since the firemen and
the ambulance; a month lost
so far, though her speech and
vision are mercifully unaffected
by her peculiar, sequestered,
arguably lucky, anatomically,
bleed. At the mirror, she looks
at me standing behind her,
my right hand wrapped in her
belt. I say Bend your left knee,
Mrs. Davis, and she says, left
eyelid drooping, left side of her
mouth skewing down, You
wouldn’t know it now, but I
was beautiful once. Men came
from Fort Lewis Sundays when
I was 17 to watch me swan out
of First Baptist. She laughs and
I laugh, then she tears up, and I
say Can you bend your left knee,
Mrs. Beautiful? and she says
You about useless, boy. And
I say Yes, ma’am. True truth.
But happiness is fitful, don’t you
find? A flitting wren in a lilac
glides down, lights on your knee.
The left. This. Can you bend it?


Timothy Kelly holds Master’s Degrees in Physical Therapy from the University of Washington, and in Fine Arts/Creative Writing from Boston University. Since 1982, he’s worked in Olympia, WA as a Physical Therapist. He’s published three collections of poetry: Articulation, published by Lynx House Press, won the King County Arts Commission Publication Award in 1992; Stronger, from Oberlin College Press, won the 1999 Field Poetry Prize; and The Extremities, published by Oberlin College Press in 2008. Toccata and Fugue, published by Floating Bridge Press, won the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award in 2005.

Elizabeth Austen

The Girl Who Goes Alone


Here’s the thing about being a girl
and wanting to play outside.
All the grown-ups grind it into you from the get go:
girls outside aren’t safe.
The guy in the car? If he rolls down the window and leans
his head out, run
because the best you can hope for is a catcall, and at worst
you’ll wind up with your face on the side of a milk carton.

Even when you’re a grownup girl, your father—because
he loves you—
will send you a four-page article about how to protect yourself
while standing at the ATM, while travelling unescorted, while
jogging solo,
an article informing you how to distinguish phony police
and avoid purse snatchers, pickpockets, rapists, and thugs.

Tell someone you’re going into the woods alone
and they’ll story your head with trailside cougar attacks,
cave dwelling misogynists, lightning strikes, forest fires,
flash floods,
and psychopaths with a sixth sense for a woman alone in a tent.

To be a girl alone in the wilderness is to know
that if something goes wrong—
you picked the trailhead where the ax murderer lurks
or the valley of girl-eating gophers—
if you don’t come home intact, the mourning
will be mixed with I-told-you-sos
from everyone whose idea of camping involves an RV
or a Motel 6.
The message is clear: Girls must be chaperoned.

So, when, at the end of the day, you zip up the tent
and lie back in your sleeping bag,
fleece jacket bundled into a lumpy pillow under your head,
the second you close your eyes every least night noise
is instantly magnified.

You lie there and consider the pungent heft of menstrual blood,
how even your sweat is muskier, louder, when you’re bleeding.
Not hard to imagine its animal allure—every bear
for miles around sniffing you on the night wind.

You lie there, listening, running a mental inventory of any
potentially scented item—
did every one make it into the food bag hung from a tree?
Toothpaste, trailmix, chapstick, sunscreen—fuck.
Sunscreen still in your pack, nestled right beside you
where Outdoor Man used to sleep. So you’re up, out of the tent
headlamp casting its too-bright spotlight, darkening the dark
outside its reach
as you lower the bag, shove the sunscreen in, hoist and tie.

Far enough from the ground to elude the bears?
Far enough along the branch to thwart raccoons?
Tree far enough from the tent to keep from signaling
the proximity of ground-level, girl-shaped snacks?

You go alone—in part—to prove that though Outdoor Man
has left you
his body is the only geography he can deprive you of.
He can give his muscled calves and thighs, his shoulders, chest,
and hands
to another woman, but not the Sauk River old growth,
snow fields of Rainier, sea stacks of Shi Shi.

He can keep you from the sweet, blood-thrilling hum
of his body, but not the sweaty, blood-thumping
pleasure of a hard-earned panoramic view or high altitude

The thing about being a girl who goes alone, who goes
again and again, is that it freaks
the potential next boyfriend. He doesn’t want
to be out machoed and he doesn’t want to admit it
and he hopes you can’t tell. The thing
about being the girl who still goes alone is that it proves
you don’t need him and no matter how you show him you
want him
it’s not the same
and you both know it.

Zipped back into the tent you remind yourself you’ve never
really been in danger.
When have you ever been in danger? Well there was that boy,
but years ago
a teenager like you, driving around bored and pissed
at the world, his BB gun and his father’s two rifles
on the seat beside him. Lucky you.
The gun he leveled on the window ledge
lodged nothing more than a BB in your thigh.

The thing about being a girl alone in the woods is
you know too much
about the grain of truth in the warnings.

Even if you seem impervious, weird good luck leaving you
so far unscathed
you know the other girls’ stories—your sister
date raped after a party in college, a friend
raped by a stranger at knife-point, the two women
shot on the Pinnacle Lake trail, the singer
killed by coyotes in Nova Scotia.

The thing
about being a girl
who goes alone
is that you feel like you shouldn’t go
if you’re afraid. If you go it should mean you’re not afraid,
that you’re never afraid. Your friends will think that you go

This girl
who goes alone
is always afraid, always negotiating to keep the voices
in her head at a manageable pitch of hysteria.

I go knowing that there will be a moment—maybe
long moments, maybe
hours of them, maybe the whole trip—
when I curse myself for going alone.
When I lie in the tent and all I am is fear.

I walk into the wilderness alone
because the animal in me needs to fill her nose
with the scent of stone and lichen,
ocean salt and pine forest warming in early sun.

I walk in the wilderness alone so I can hear myself.
So I can feel real to myself.

I go because I know I’m lucky to have a car, gas money, days off
the back and legs and appetite
to take me there.
I go while I still can.

The girl who goes alone
claims for herself
the madrona      juniper     daybreak.

She claims hemlock    prairie    falcon    nightfall
nurse    log    sea star    glacial moraine
huckleberry    trillium     salal
snowmelt    avalanche lily    waterfall
birdsong    limestone    granite    moonlight    schist
cirque     saddle    summit     ocean
she claims the curve of the earth.

The girl who goes alone says with her body
the world is worth the risk.



Elizabeth Austen is the author of Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011), and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet (one of four winners of the 2010 Toadlily Press chapbook award and part of the quartet Sightline). Her poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily, in journals including the Los Angeles Review, Bellingham Review and Willow Springs, and in anthologies including A Face to Meet the Faces and Poets Against the War. She served as the Washington state “roadshow poet” and is the literary producer for KUOW 94.9 public radio in Seattle.

Georgia Stewart McDade

The Way Some of Us Are


Carver’s knife found shut, said The Times.
No exclamation necessary.
A period is all there is.
No one knows how not surprised
many folks are.
A human being shot, killed another human
That’s the truth, the fact.
That one human being is white and the other a
Native American is a fact and often a
The former is a policeman; the latter a carver.
Too often that is a problem.
I submit that if both had looked at each other as
human beings there would’ve been no
I submit that the white policeman saw red long
before he saw human being.
I submit that many policemen often see a color
before they see a person.
I submit much of the policeman’s culture says
beware of people of color, the darker they,
the more careful you.
I submit the policeman believed he was in
danger though he with his gun was
not close enough to see a closed knife.

And I submit, diminished mental state
notwithstanding, Mr. Williams knew much
of this and chose to risk being himself.

No doubt there is sorrow; there should be.
But absolutely no amount of sorrow nor
anything else, nothing will bring back Mr.
John T. Williams.

Of course, policemen do not want to be killed.
Of course, they must protect themselves.
But as long as they serve a populace they fear,
we can count on too many of them
stomping, beating, and shooting, killing
too—acting and then asking questions.
The cold-blooded killings of their comrades
doubtlessly makes them more guarded.
Until policemen know more of the folks they are
guarding we can expect them to feel justified
in their actions despite being deadly wrong.



Georgia Stewart McDade, a Louisiana native who’s lived in Seattle more than half her life, loves reading and writing. Most of her career was spent teaching. The African-American Writers’ Alliance member has been reading her stories and poetry in public since 1991. McDade conducts writing workshops usually emphasizing theorizing, organizing, analyzing, and synthesizing. Her works are in anthologies I Wonder as I Wander, Gifted Voices, Words? Words! Words, and Threads. Travel Tips for Dream Trips, questions and answers about her six-month, solo trip around the world and Outside the Cave, poetry, are major components of her portfolio.