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Billy Collins and more

Celebrate National Poetry Month in the South Sound.

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O hear my words: Poetry is alive! April is National Poetry Month, and all over the South Sound, writers will be rhymin’ and readin’ their swirl of stanzas. From works shared by Washington State’s newly-named Poet Laureate to the Dead Poets poetry reading, there’s a little something poesy for all local poetic spirits to celebrate.

Billy Collins

While the culture cognoscenti wring their hands about the shrinking audience for metrical composition, Billy Collins is a very popular poet of the old-school, pen-and-paper set. Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003, Collins served as New York State Poet Laureate 2004-6, and has taught at CUNY’s Lehman College for more than 30 years. For all his academic credentials, though, his writing resonates with the average Joe. With verses about garage pinups, neighbors’ barking dogs, grown-ups who’d like to call their bosses Big Fatty Stupids, he’s said to have given poetry back to the people. Hear, hear! — Suzy Stump

[Pantages Theater, Friday, April 4, 7:30 p.m., $24-$46, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5894]

Tuesday, April 8, 10:30 a.m.

Local poet Merna Ann Hecht explores the ways in which artists meld poetry and visual art at the Tacoma Art Museum. Second Tuesdays admission is reduced to $3.25 for seniors (65+) and retired military. 253.272.4258

Wednesday, April 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Tacoma Writers Roundtable: Writers of all genres meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens, in Tacoma.  253.272.8801

Thursday, April 10, 7 p.m.

The Gallery Reading Series at Tacoma Community College hosts poets Kathleen Flenniken and Katharine Whitcomb. Free. 253.566.5382.

Thursday, April 10, 7-8 p.m.

Olympia Poetry Network hosts the Paul Gillie Memorial Workshop Series Writer’s Workshop at the Olympia Timberland Library. 360.352.0595

Friday, April 11, 7 p.m.

Distinguished Writer’s Series & Open Mic with poet Tod Marshall from Gonzaga University will be held at King’s Books. Free. 253.272.8801

Saturday, April 12, 3 p.m.

Tacoma Writer’s Meet-up — writers of poetry and fiction meet at Borders bookstore (by Tacoma Mall) to read and share their works. For more information,

Sunday, April 13, 2 p.m.

Poets meet at the Parkland/Spanaway Library to share and read work. 138th and Pacific Ave. 253.531.4656

Monday, April 14, 7-9 p.m.

University of Washington - Tacoma Campus and T.A.L.E. (Tacoma Area Lit Enthusiasts) present, “In Women’s Words,” an all-women poetry reading in Carwein Auditorium. Local Tacoma poets include Tammy Robacker, Connie Walle, Karen Hargrove, Margi Shindler, Laura Vincent, Kimberlee Gerstmann, Maggie Kelly, and Gloria Austin-Putman. Open Mic at 8 p.m. Free. 253.692.4440

Wednesday, April 16, 6:30-8 p.m.

Olympia Poetry Network presents Dead Poets’ Reading. Join Oly writers for their annual celebration of April as Poetry Month. Open Mic and reading at Traditions Café, 300 5th Ave., S.W., Olympia. 360.705.2819

Monday, April 21, 7 p.m.

School of the Arts Writers Bloc — a night featuring poetry and prose from the many talented creative writers at the Tacoma School of the Arts. Free. 253.571.7900

Tuesday, April 22, 7:30 p.m.

PLU Visiting Writer’s Series hosts poet Mary Oliver as part of an Earth Day celebration at  Lagerquist Concert Hall. It’s sold out and you didn’t even know it.

Wednesday, April 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Tacoma Writers Roundtable meets again at King’s Books. Free. 253.272.8801

Saturday, April 26, all day

Burning Word: The Festival of Poetic Fire, the annual statewide literary event, will be held at Greenbank Farm, Whidbey Island. Visit: burning_word.php

Wednesday, April 30, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

L.I.F.E., a local Elderhostel group, celebrates National Poetry Month. Come hear poetry, read poetry or share your favorite poet’s work at Garfield Book Co. in the Fireside Room. Visit:

Thursday, May 1, 7 p.m.

Washington state’s newly-named poet laureate, Samuel Green, will read and sign books at the Peninsula Pierce County Library, Gig Harbor. Free. 253.851.3793

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