Seattle, Washington

30 September 2006

Editor's Note

Seattle, Washington | 30 September 2006

Seattle is a city known for its rain, its lush green beltways, its flourishing theater and music communities, its suicides, and its serial killers. The Pacific Northwest poetic tradition includes Theodore Roethke, Richard Hugo, Sherman Alexie, Sam Hamill, Tess Gallagher, and Carolyn Kizer. When people think of the present Seattle poetry scene, they might think of the most visible type of Northwest poems; watery pastels, heron, the soft, the political, the easy landscapes, the ever present crow.

In fact, Seattle has a thriving poetry presence that doesn’t always include birds, nature, water, or birdie nature. The poems I have chosen to represent Seattle run the gamut from Kathryn Rantala’s minimalist "Haydn’s Evening Letters,"  Ron Starr’s erased poems based on a conservative Christian book about the rapture, Susan Butler’ s slightly manic obsession with Richard Burton, Laura Gamache’s  "FERN HILL Decompositions", Jared Leising’s question "Why Would Jesus Dream," Brain McGuigan’s rant on "Bryan with a fucking Y", to Arne Pihl’s "My Grandfather’s Heaven" with the epigraph of an old Swedish folk song - "Å Jänta Å Ja" {oh yan-tuh oh yah} ("Oh Girl, Oh Yes").

I chose these poets to represent Seattle because each of them has a unique, strong and unusual voice.



Rebecca Loudon lives and writes in Seattle. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Tarantella and Radish King (both from Ravenna Press) and a chapbook, Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home from No Tell Books. Her work has appeared in various journals including The Seattle Review, Fine Madness, Cranky, Burnside Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review  and Forklift Ohio. She is the librettist for composer Roupen Shakarian. They have collaborated on Other Voices, a piece for chamber choir and orchestra, Yangshou Quay for choir and clarinet obbligato, and Bone Island Suite, a five part song cycle which was premiered by Philharmonia Northwest Chamber Orchestra in 2006. Rebecca is a violinist with Philharmonia Northwest Chamber Orchestra. She teaches violin to children and is the founder of The Wallingford Irregulars workshop which is in its eighth year. She is currently writing the libretto to Red Queen, an opera based on the relationship between Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson.