Seattle Weekender: Tackling poverty, Mary Oliver gets philosophical, a celebration of Korean poetry

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend in the city. Or at least some fun.

Crosscut archive image.

Violinist James Ehnes.

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend in the city. Or at least some fun.

Don Mee Choi: Don Mee Choi has become poetry royalty in Seattle. She recently won the prestigous 2011 Whiting Writer's Award for her debut book of poetry, The Morning News is Exciting. Only ten writers win the award each year, nationwide. Choi's poetry is poignant and evocative, and not only displays her deep care for the craft of words, but also intimately draws readers into her world, her history and background, and her passionate emotions.

Choi is also a noted translator of South Korean poetry, and this Friday she will be reading in celebration of her translation, All the Garbage of the World, Unite! by Kim Hyesoon. Joining Choi will be Melanie Noel, author of the forthcoming Monarchs.

If you go: Hedreen Gallery at Seattle University, 901 12th Ave, Feb. 3, 6pm, Free, more info

Search for Meaning Book Festival 2012: More than just about books, this festival seeks to find meaning in the world around us. Over 40 authors will be in attendance, celebrating "the best works on issues of spirituality, faith, ethics, church-state relations, social justice, and theology."

Included on the list are Pulitzer-prize winning poet Mary Oliver; New York Times best-selling author (and official chaplain to the "Colbert Report") Rev. James Martin, S.J.; and the talented local author David Guterson, among others. There should be plenty of opportunity to connect with and engage authors in conversation, which will act as perfect fodder when you decide to take up a hermitage in the Himalayas to ponder the intricacies of the universe. It will be beautiful.

If you go: Seattle University, 901 12th Ave, Feb. 4, 9am-5pm, Free, more info

5th Annual Urban Poverty Forum: Are you provoked by poverty? This Sunday Town Hall hosts a forum to "open a dialogue about the systemic issues surrounding urban poverty, and to unite a diverse community of care — including faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and concerned citizens — in addressing problems faced by the poorest among us." The event features ROOTS Executive Director Kristine Cunningham, a "dramatic presentation," and, yes, even poetry. The event has people from just about every corner of homeless advocacy in the area, so it should be an interesting and involved discussion.

If you go: Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Avenue, Feb. 5, 1:00-2:30pm, $5 suggested donation, more info

Seattle Chamber Music Society's Winter Festival: The Winter Festival launches the young and talented James Ehnes' first season as artistic director of Seattle Chamber Music Society. According to Crosscut writer Thomas May, while it won't show the full extent of Ehnes's effect on SCMS, it will suggest "some hints of what we might expect in the Ehnes era."

Ehnes aside, the winter festival will also be a treat for the classically-tuned ear (and even for the ears that aren't so refined). The program includes Brahms, Strauss, Beethoven, Bartók, Suk, and so on — only the best for Seattle.

If you go: Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street, Performances throughout the weekend, more info

How to Write a New Book for the Bible: Playwright and Jesuit priest Rev. Bill Cain, S.J., has done the impossible in theatre: created a positive and uplifting play. How to Write a New Book for the Bible is based on Cain's own family: Cain moved in with his mother after she was told she only had six months to live. "It faces some of life’s tough stuff: aging, loss, and death and still manages to send you out the door more hopeful and grateful than you went in," Anthony Robinson writes in a Crosscut review.

If you go: Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer Street, runs through Feb. 5, $15-$64, more info


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