• Mark Doty
  • Kwame Dawes with Jefferson Rose Band
  • Derek Sheffield
  • Emily Warn
  • Festival Workshops
  • Students sharing poetry
  • Fritha Strand-Davern paints to poetry
  • Tim McNulty
  • Sherman Alexie
  • The Jefferson Rose Band
  • Tony Curtis in Schools
  • Red Pine
  • Oliver de la Paz
  • Robert Hass
  • Paul Hunter and Rachel Rose in session with students
  • Patrick Lane
  • Students read at open mic
  • Tom Robbins
  • Nikki Giovanni
  • Jericho Brown
  • Oliver de la Paz
  • Kurtis Lamkin in schools
  • Matt Gano and students
  • Students at 2014 festival

Our mission is to support lifelong literacy and cultural diversity through the writing, reading, performing, and teaching of poetry in Northwest Washington schools and communities.



 SAVE THE DATES

9th Biennial Skagit River Poetry Festival

La Conner, Washington

Celebrating Poetry

May 19-22, 2016

may_21-200x270Detroit poet Jamaal May

Jamaal May was born and raised in Detroit. His first book, Hum (2013), won a Beatrice Hawley Award and an American Library Association Notable Book Award and was an NAACP Image Award nominee. Hum explores machines, technology, obsolescence, and community; in an interview, May stated of his first book, “Ultimately, I’m trying to say something about dichotomy, the uneasy spaces between disparate emotions, and by extension, the uneasy spaces between human connection.” May’s poems have appeared widely in journals such as Poetry, New England Review, The Believer, and Best American Poetry 2014.
May has taught poetry in Detroit public schools and worked as a freelance sound engineer. He has taught in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program and codirects, with Tarfia Faizullah, the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook and Video Series.

Hum for the Bolt
By Jamaal May
It could of course be silk. Fifty yards or so
of the next closest thing to water to the touch,
or it could just as easily be a shaft of  wood
crumpling a man struck between spaulder and helm.
But now, with the rain making a noisy erasure
of this town, it is the flash that arrives
and leaves at nearly the same moment. It’s what I want
to be in this moment, in this doorway,
because much as I’d love to be the silk-shimmer
against the curve of anyone’s arm,
as brutal and impeccable as it’d be to soar
from a crossbow with a whistle and have a man
switch off upon my arrival, it is nothing
compared to that moment when I eat the dark,
draw shadows in quick strokes across wall
and start a tongue counting
down to thunder. That counting that says,
I am this far. I am this close.
Source: Poetry (April 2013).