Black cats are less likely to get adopted from an animal shelter than any other cat.

Monday, May 16 at 8:30pm until ten or later with an intermission following feature
Featured poet: Anita K. Boyle
8:00 to 8:30—Sign up to read your poems
Location: Amadeus Project, 1209 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham, WA

Normally, Monday being a work night, I like to get enough sleep to be fairly awake next morning at 7 or so, after a good cup of coffee and a hot-hot shower. Then there’s PoetryNight, which begins after 8 on a Monday evening and continues until late, or at least past my bedtime, given the extra chores with the horse. But when Robert Huston invited me to feature at PoetryNight May 16, I agreed. PoetryNight features usually have a new book to read from, and that is the case with me—with my new book What the Alder Told Me. I’m pretty excited, and even intimidated by this poetry reading. Have you heard the poets there? The features are excellent, and so are the poets who read at the open mic. In fact, I’ve declined reading at the open mic almost every time I’ve been there because the poets are so good that I just want to hear them, and the sign-in sheet always fills up. I don’t remember when I went away disappointed. So this is an event worth going to, not because I’m featuring (though I’d be very happy to see you there), but because every Monday there is outstanding poetry read live on stage. The quality of the work, the poets and the audience exceeds expectations… by far. This is an invitation to come to PoetryNight May 16 to hear poems from my new book, and the great local and not-so-local poets who will share the mic with me.

Anita and I recently each received copies of Editing a Vapor Trail by Karen Bonaudi, published this year by Pudding House Publications in Columbus, Ohio. Karen lives in Moses Lake, and over the years has done a lot for poets and poetry in Washington. This 25-poem chapbook is the first opportunity I’ve had to read a complete collection of her poems, and I am smitten! This is a wonderful book, with carefully crafted, intelligent poems that all offer delicious passages and dazzling images. Some of them address pain and loss, others capture unforgettable moments, such as “Out by the woodpile sits a bird / with a song that sounds / like the closing of a door.” Anita and I brought our copies of Editing a Vapor Trail out to the pond, and took turns reading all the poems aloud to each other, inviting her words to brighten us “like sunlight on stones beneath the water.”

—James Bertolino

Jim and I have read many poetry books, magazines and single poems out at our Noon Road pond where the dark water and the reflections of trees and sky mingle with fallen leaves and water lilies. Sometimes the water moves like it’s alive, sometimes a fish jumps, a dragonfly hovers nearby, or a chorus of frogs starts up. There is no better place to read poetry. Karen Bonaudi’s chapbook fit exceptionally well with the pond’s environment. The title, Editing a Vapor Trail, is a great one, because the reader can get several meanings from it, and they’d all be true. Her poems are small contrail metaphors where the subject that once was obvious fades into something else less conspicuous, but just as present. Karen’s poems address revisions of memory, changes in history, alterations within the family and other subjects worth considering.

—Anita K. Boyle


The autumn the leaves
all blew away
we didn’t have to rake,
didn’t have to remember
the things we had told
each other in the dark,
for everything was clear.

—Karen Bonaudi
(from Editing a Vapor Trail)