The first annual month-long Hugo House festival in honor of National Poetry Month is underway, with writers joined by readers, rockers, rhapsodizers, and rhyme-wild painters. Events include "Favorite Poem" videos made daily around town, evening readings, a gallery of paintings, poets' Happy Hours, and song.
- April 18, 7 p.m. Melissa Kwasny and Christopher Howell read from their work. Kwasny, a former student of Richard Hugo’s at the University of Montana, has a new collection of prose poems, The Nine Senses. Spokane poet and former U.S. Navy journalist Howell has authored eight collections of poetry, including The Crime of Luck and Light’s Ladder, a Washington State Book Award winner. Free.
- April 20, 7 p.m. “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?” Peter Pereira, Kathleen Flenniken, Judith Roche, and Bob Redmond talk and read poems about the destruction and healing of our natural world. Free.
- April 21, 7:30 p.m. “Poetry Rocks!” Jose Bold, Sara Edwards, Goldfinch, and Jason Dodson of The Maldives turn their favorite poems by Walt Whitman, Dorothy Parker, Dean Young, and more into songs. (Rumor has it Jose Bold may keep irony alive with riffs on Jewel’s A Night Without Armor.) Come for the music, stay for the poetry — or vice-versa! Tickets $10. Call 206-322-7030.
- April 26, 6-8 p.m. “Write Out: A Happy Hour for Writers.” Carol Guess, John Burgess, and David Nixon, of the Seattle-based septet “Awesome,” will offer writing prompts to get you started and then write by your side. Other wake-up calls for your muse will include writing exercise handouts, books on writing, and Happy Hour specials on sale at the bar. Free.
- April 27, 6:30 p.m. “4 Courses.” Joyce Carol Oates once asked, “If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?” The answer: Of course! — 4 courses, that is: writers Langdon Cook, Kevin Craft, Kate Lebo, and Martha Silano, paired with dishes from Tom Douglas Restaurants and pie from High 5 Pie. Tickets $15 ($10 students and seniors). Call 206-322-7030.
- April 28, 7-10 p.m. “Cheap Wine and Poetry.” Hugo House closes National Poetry Month with its popular monthly reading series, this time featuring poets Roberto Ascalon, Elizabeth Austen, Paul Nelson, and Katharine Ogle — plus, cheap wine! Open mic follows featured readers. Free.
- “My Favorite Poem” Project — A miscellany of Seattle characters is being filmed reading their favorite poems around town. Watch the beautiful Nicole Hardy (This Blonde; Mud Flap Girl's XX Guide to Facial Profiling) read William Butler Yeats at restaurant Rancho Bravo. New videos appear daily on the Hugo Blog and Hugo House’s YouTube channel.
- “A Good Line: Artists on Poems” — Local painters Gala Bent, Sharon Arnold, Troy Gua, Counsel Langley, Ryan Molenkamp, Amanda Manitach, Erin Shafkind, Nola Avienne, David Lasky, Liz Tran, Shaun Kardinal, and Jed Dunkerley are creating new work based on poems they love. Paintings are on display throughout April at the House.
- “Poem-a-Day” — Poets John Burgess and Carol Guess join philosopher and performance artist David Nixon for NaPoWriMo all month at Hugo House by writing a poem every day April 1-30. Poems are periodically posted on the Hugo Blog as well as on the poets’ websites, and a public reading will be held (stay tuned for details) featuring all work composed during the month.
If you go: Richard Hugo House is at 1634 11th Ave. on Capitol Hill. Further details online and at 206-322-7030.