Maria's Blog

Apr. 1, 2013 at 6:00pm

National Poetry Month Kick-Off Party

Reading & Magazine Anthology Celebration!

 photo FacebookEventCover.jpg
Friends, family, poets and art lovers of the South Sound: you're invited to a FREE event launching National Poetry Month in Tacoma!

2013 promises a wide range of vibrant, diverse poetry events throughout the city in the month of April. Download a calendar of events hosted by poets, writers, artists and arts groups!

Your hosts for this year's kick-off celebration are the guest poetry editors of the 2013 Tacoma poetry month anthology magazine, Tammy Robacker and Maria Gudaitis. We look forward to meeting you and sharing the delight of our all-local, all-poetry magazine release, and to celebrate National Poetry Month together.

Poets published in the APRIL 2013 Issue of WRIST magazine may pick up their complimentary copy of the limited edition, poetry month magazine at the party.

So come join in the fun. Have a hand-crafted Anthem latte, sip some wine, hear local poetry, win poetry raffle prizes and meet with other local poets. An open mic sheet will be available to sign up readers from the anthology on a first-come, first-serve basis.

RSVP at our Facebook event site
More info available here:
Link to our poster

comments [4]

Dec. 31, 2012 at 3:11pm

Poetry at Tacoma's First Night

7:30pm at the Graffiti Garages

Hello Forum Debaters, Rant and Ravers, Comic Book Creators, Illustrators, Urban Canopy Haters, Agitators, Urban Gladiators:

I'll be reading a few poems at First Night tonight, at the Graffiti Garages, as part of the Write@253 center's program. If you're in the area, stop by. I'd love to say Hi to any FeedTacoma community members in person.

More details here:

Write@253 at First Night  //  7:30 PM  //  Graffiti Garages  //  7th and Broadway in downtown Tacoma (one block north of Sanford and Sons Antiques)

comments [1]

Sep. 10, 2012 at 11:13am

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Strange and wonderful film at the Grand Cinema

I've been wanting to see this film for weeks based off rave reviews.

"Best film at Cannes." "...guaranteed to be some of the best performances you will see all year." "PHENOMENAL film from Sundance - the big discovery of this year's festival. Just incredible."

And I finally went to see it last night at the Grand Cinema.

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" makes "Tree of Life" seem like a Calvin Klein commercial.

Both are dreamy, abstract, emotional narratives with gorgeous cinematography. Both are character-driven and sensory; less concerned with exact story, leaning more on impressionistic imagery. Both have moving voice-overs and the wickedly-deft, supporting actor of This Cruel World.

Where Malick's film is ethereal, dreamy, lush…Benh Zeitlin's film is forceful, messy and fierce. It's wildly imaginative. It doesn't fit in conventional categories, so it feels chaotic, defiant, strange. Set in a remote Louisiana coastal community, drunk with self-reliance and pride of place, menaced by the muck of love and nature and destitution, the film captures a way of life both stubborn and unashamed.

Other reviews are right: it's very hard to describe why this film is so amazing. The closest I can get is to say it's very raw and innocent at the same time.

It's the story of a six-year old girl named Hushpuppy and her father Wink, who live in the low-lying area of Louisiana just beyond the levee, a community called the Bathtub. There's moonshine and crayfish.

Scavenge the best elements of "Apocaypse Now," "Precious" and "Tree of Life," and you get "Beasts of the Southern Wild." (And at times, the sets look like rusted, precarious assemblages scavenged from "Mad Max.")

The first thirty minutes expose a level of squalor and neglect that is heart-wrenching. I never felt comfortable the entire film. It's not exploitative, but still painful to watch. Still, it's as beautiful as ghostly tree moss, heavy as a submerged Cypress branch. Using a boat made of a cast off truckbed, the film takes you into another world--dense, bent, foul, redemptive.

It's not just the story of a little girl and her dad, in their poor coastal community, facing devastation from outside and within. The film frequently transmutes into myth. The magic is in how we easily we surrender to the imaginative world of this child, a place where extinct beasts return and where an absent mom speaks through a piece of clothing.

Credit five-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis with an almost savage virtuosity, and her co-star Dwight Henry with eliciting both repulsion and compassion. It's a rare film that brings me on a journey so far from where I started in the first five minutes. (Meaning, "why did I spend $9 to watch a shaky hand-held camera document extreme deprivation?")

The accolades and reviews are right. (Several mentioned it was the best movie at Cannes). It is likely the most meaningful film of the year.

Sidenotes: the music is stellar. So beautiful I stayed to the end of the credits just to hear it one more time. The hand-held cam is annoying. It gets better after the first 20 minutes or so.

comments [1]

Jul. 25, 2012 at 9:49pm

Downtown on the Go -- Poetry Walk

Tacoma has chalk, Squawk, rock, a controversial Glock, Wright Pawk (if you're from Bawston), a non-functioning clock, party for the Downtown Block, dames of the dock...and next month, I'm very excited to learn the city will have a Poetry Walk.

Wednesday, August 1, 5:15 pm -- 1.5 miles from Woolworth Bld. to Hilltop

With stops along the way to write about the surroundings. Does this sound interesting to anyone? Are any of you urban advocates and writers?


From the Downtown on the Go website:

Writers know when it’s time to take a walk.  John Keats wrote most of his poetry to the rhythm of walking.  He would walk for miles around the lush greens of Hampstead Heath, composing and memorizing lines to his greatest odes in rhythmic verse.  Nature was both muse and subject for him. 

We can cultivate this same attention simply by going outside, aligning the rhythm of our breath with the rhythm of our steps; it is within this balance that our senses can relax and receive. 

On the evening of August 1, join Downtown On the Go and Janie Miller, poet, essayist, and University of Washington Tacoma faculty member, and walk the historical 1.5 miles from the Woolworth building to Hilltop,  while being guided through a poetry lesson stopping at various locations to write about the surroundings. 

This free event, open to the public, will start and end at the Woolworth Building on S. 11th & Broadway.  No pre-registration necessary, just join us at the Woolworth Building at 5:15pm on August 1.    

Walk Poetic is part of Downtown On the Go’s Walk Tacoma series, a six walk series held throughout downtown Tacoma to encourage downtown employees, residents, and visitors to get out, get active and learn the many walking routes downtown.  Each walk includes an educational walk (history or poetry) and a power walk.  Our popular Walk Poetic event will also include a power walk led by Liz and Matt from Expand Yoga, for individuals looking for a great outdoor workout.  Whether you are looking to walk for fitness or for the learning experience, join Downtown On the Go for this great event on August 1.

comments [0]

Jul. 5, 2012 at 2:45pm

Porter's Place -- Memorial Service for Alton

Funeral and Family Fund for the Porters

You've probably already heard that the owner of Porter's Place--Alton Porter--died suddenly last week. His restaurant was a famous local BBQ. Along with their traditional BBQ fare, the hallmark of Porter's Place was a super-hot sauce called "the Man" -- if you could stand to eat it, you got a bumpersticker.

Alton's family also ran Dixie's at Safeco Field and the original Dixie's BBQ in Bellevue.

Alton leaves behind his wife and five kids. They lost Alton's Dad to cancer two years ago, and his sister LJ last year. It's been a difficult couple of years for the Porters, made harder also due to the relocation of Porter's Place to the new location on South Tacoma Way.

News Tribune article:

If you're involved in the community, you've probably met Alton or one of his family members manning the grill at hundreds of school, parks, music, cultural and other events. Alton was one of the most generous business owners I've ever met. He gave food away for free or provided discounts to community groups throughout the county. He did food for the homeless and Thanksgiving dinners for the needy.

It surprised me the first time I saw him at a hoopfest running the grill, but I realized he was the type of person who wanted not to just give money or burgers, but also his time and attention. He loved contributing to good causes, especially for kids and those in financial distress.

The memorial service for Alton Porter is this Wednesday, July 11, 12:30 pm at Church for All Nations in Parkland (111-112th St. S., Tacoma, WA 98445).

More info here:

This unexpected death has left Mrs. Porter and the kids with some heavy financial costs. If anyone wants to give to the Porters, there are three funds set up at local banks:

Columbia Bank -- The Alton "Porter" "The Man" Memorial Fund

Key Bank -- The Alton "Porter" "The Man" Memorial Fund

Harborstone Credit Union -- The Alton G. Porter Memorial Fund

Dear Tacoma, if you can help this family out in their time of need, they sure could use it. Thanks so much.

comments [0]

May. 23, 2012 at 11:09am

Arts Input TODAY

Take part in proactive planning for positive cultural policy

Don't forget today at 12:45 pm is a chance to contribute to the conversation about arts and culture here in Tacoma and Pierce County. Glass art, giant dump trucks of letters, live/work space, music in parks, graffiti walls, guerrilla poetry, letterpress broadsides, t-shirts...what's your take?

Walk over at lunch time and participate in a discussion about what the arts are and should be in our community.

Pierce County Arts Advocacy Meeting
Wednesday, May 23, 2011

Tacoma Municipal Building

747 Market Street – 9th floor, Visibility Center
Downtown Tacoma
Meeting is 12:45 to 1:30 pm

More info here:

comments [10]

Apr. 23, 2012 at 5:33pm

Poetry is Superior to Politics

Invitation to Poetry + History event this Sunday

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. ~Plato

FeedTacoma readers, you have put up with my opinions on rain gardens, urban development, best restaurants and minimum wage. But there is something superior to political debate and discussion, something even more dear to me than efficient stormwater processing: poetry.

It may not be the first time poetry is shared on this site, but this is the first time I'm sharing my poetry online. Also, I'd like to invite FeedTacomans to the History Museum this Sunday, April 29, at 2 pm. Cost is $6. More info here.

I'm reading with five other local poets in celebration of National Poetry Month. The curator will be on hand to share some words on this excellent exhibition of Great Depression photos and artifacts. See kids tramping for jobs in Auburn, riots in Seattle, and the burning of the floating shantytowns of Tacoma! The wall of Ron Ginther primitive artwork (plus his notebooks and sketches) alone is worth the trip! At 3 pm poets read. 4 pm is a book-signing. 5 pm is an after-party at Anthem Coffee next door.

I wrote this poem after one of my many drives down Fawcett Avenue. I'm totally fascinated by Fawcett! This poem was included in a hyper-local, limited-edition poetry book I produced with Tacoma poets for the Art Bus/Art Walk last week.


Effluvium geysers
shoot Bellagio founts
above Thea’s waterway.
(Crane parentheses)

flash flash flash
Fawcett Avenue flickers by:
stone facade, warehouse,
shuttered church. Weeds reach
sky. For-Lease old maids wear plywood,
wait for shy CBD gentlemen callers.

Note the three-story monolith which defies
wrecking ball— salute this brick butte,
stacked firm against urban erosion. The family
within has lit it so incandescently, it warms
three city blocks with a torch of domesticity.

Downhill, graffiti garage pops, locks, spins.
Advertising mural edifice skin ages. Trees
yawn, put on green and white silk
flapper dresses. The courthouse sports
her aqua epaulets.

Where’s the Heidelberg
prince, my friends? Who sold
him to out-of-town collectors?
Who told Tacoma it was okay
to export our best apples and glass?
Where’s your writ to wreck and
neglect icons steady through war,
weather and crash?

The man on Commerce Street
buttons a gray coat, then stands
motionless as paper maché.
See the professor walking
a Newfoundland on 6th Ave?
April wind tousles his dog’s coat.
Suddenly, the man is tethered
to a cloud of smoke.

Then thunder—or artillery
fire from the south?

Rain, or contractors
power-washing away ghosts?


If you have any links to history about Fawcett Avenue or Japan Town, or any stories, I'd love more info. I spent an hour driving around that area today. It's trying to say something to me!

Also I'm very interested in the Yamane and Hirose families. There is a beautiful photo of them in the exhibit in front of a grocery store in 1936.

comments [62]

Jul. 19, 2010 at 1:26pm

Tacoma Tides -- Goalkeeper

I'm a very casual soccer fan...don't watch regularly, don't know the finer rules of the game. I did watch the World Cup, I go to kids/friends' games, and I even considered going to the Tacoma Tides game just because I enjoy live sports of pretty much any kind.

On Sunday, I started seeing local T-Town twitters about some guy from Stadium High School on the field for the Sounders.

So today, this article today in the Tacoma News Tribune caught my interest--not just because soccer is a great sport, but because it involves a Tacoma team, a Tacoma kid, and this is just plain an awesome story:

"For about a half hour Sunday, Jordan Jennings was enjoying the sort of afternoon extended to the recipient of a charity auction item.

Jennings, the full-time goalkeeper for the Tacoma Tide of the Premier Development League, had a sideline seat for the Sounders friendly against Celtic...

...Jennings fantasy-camp experience took a drastic turn in the 29th minute, when Boss took a red card for what referee Paul Ward interpreted to be a tackle of Celtics Georgios Samaras during a breakaway."

Read more:

comments [0]

May. 13, 2010 at 12:00pm

Exquisite Disarray -- First Book of Poetry Contest

Prize: $200 & manuscript publication

Tacoma is a delicious, steaming pot of spicy poetry curry, simmering with eggplants and basil and bamboo shoots...fragrant words and phrases...the five-star fiery capsicum of honest thoughts and experience.

From the previous "In Tahoma's Shadow" (a local anthology sponsored by Tacoma non-profit press, Exquisite Disarray) to the Tacoma Poet Laureate position to the monthly Distinguished Writer's Series to Speak Your Soul to the Tacoma Round (music + art + poetry) and many, many more poetry events and organizations...we're a city with a bright jewel box of finely crafted words.

If you've got a pile of unpublished poems or have been honing your craft quietly for years, this could be your chance: Exquisite Disarray is sponsoring a First Book Poetry Contest. The deadline is this Saturday, May 15, so gather those sonnets, haiku, elegies, raps, dactylic pentameters and free verse.

There's no reading fee (that's good), and the prize is eternal fame and appointment as the Chief of Staff of the Tacoma Department of Poetry, scratch that, the prize is $200 and publication of the winning manuscript, plus a public reading and workshop to be held in Tacoma in November 2010.

The First Book Poetry Contest is open to all Washington State poets who have not yet published a full-length collection of poetry.

Special Tacoma bonus!! There's also a Tacoma Poem Prize: $100 for the best poem about the City of Destiny.

Details are here:

comments [0]

Apr. 28, 2010 at 2:06pm

2010 Wayzgoose Photos

A few photos from the 2010 Wayzgoose at King's Books in Tacoma.

Close Up of Printing Block

Steamroller Printing

Carefully Lifting the Finished Print



Finished Print


Boxes of Metal Type

Finished Posters

Anagram Press Bird Cards

Technical info: I hadn't brought along our better camera, so the event photos were taken with a Canon SD870 IS (a good point & shoot compact). The shots of the letterpress & artist goods were with a Canon Rebel with a 70-200 lens shot at aperture of 4.0 using natural light.

The full set of 36 photos can be seen here:

comments [2]