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  • Date: October 22
  • Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm PT

Poetry World Series 2016: Seattle Edition

$5 advance | $10 at door


Presented by The Poetry World Series, this event takes place at The Pine Box on Capitol Hill (1600 Melrose Ave).

“Writing is exciting / and baseball is like writing. / You can never tell with either / how it will go.” –Marianne Moore

This rowdy, fast-paced reading features two teams of award-winning poets taking turns batting at topics pitched by the audience. Fastballs, curveballs, knuckleballs: these poets won’t know what’s coming next. Emceed by the incomparable John Roderick, the event features two teams of award-winning poets—Jane Wong, John Beer, Matthew Nienow, Michelle PeñalozaJeannine Hall Gailey, and Michael Schmeltzer—as they take turns “batting” at topics pitched to them by the audience.

Sherman Alexie and Nancy Guppy will serve as the eminently qualified judges who’ll score each batter’s reading. The winning team takes the series title.

A book sale and signing will follow the competition. Audience members are encouraged to come with a topic to pitch to the poets.



john-roderick-6John Roderick is a musician, writer, podcaster, and politician. He is currently the lead singer and guitarist in the band The Long Winters and was formerly a touring member of the band Harvey Danger. He is also a frequent guest musician on recordings by other bands. Roderick became a founding member of the Seattle Music Commission in 2010.



shermanalexieSherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer. Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, he has published 25 book including his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr, and young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, both from Little Brown Books for Young Readers; What I’ve Stolen What I’ve Earned (Hanging Loose Press); and Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories (Grove Press).

Photo by Kyle Johnson
Photo by Kyle Johnson

Nancy Guppy has been the creator, host, and producer of a series of programs focusing on Pacific Northwest arts and culture, first City a Go Go on the Seattle Channel and KCTS, and currently Art Zone with Nancy Guppy, a weekly television program on the Seattle Channel. She is also known for her time as a writer and cast member of KING-TV’s sketch comedy program Almost Live!, which ran for 15 years.



Jane WongJane Wong‘s poems can be found in anthologies and journals such as Best American Poetry 2015, Best New Poets 2012, Pleiades, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Third Coast, and others. Awarded The American Poetry Review’s 2016 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, she is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center, Squaw Valley, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Currently, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pacific Lutheran University. Along with three chapbooks, she is the author of Overpour (Action Books).


John Beer is the author of the poetry collection The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium Books), winner of the Normer Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the chapbook Lucinda. Beer received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the former literary assistant to poet Robert Lax, and the editor of Lax’s Poems (1962-1997) (Wave Books). A former theater critic for Time Out Chicago, Beer’s criticism has appeared in Verse, the Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, and other magazines. He currently teaches at Portland State University.

nienow_matthewMatthew Nienow‘s work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, New England Review, Poetry, Best New Poets anthologies, and in three chapbooks. He has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Artist Trust, and others. He earned his MFA from the University of Washington and has a degree in Traditional Small Craft from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding.

Michelle Penaloza PhotoMichelle Peñaloza‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the New England Review, the Asian American Literary Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, Hugo House, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, among others.

v8xodfexJeannine Hall Gailey recently served as Redmond, Washington’s second Poet Laureate. She is the author of five books of poetry:Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and her latest, the winner of the Moon City Press Book Award, Field Guide to the End of the World. Her poems have appeared on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.

Michael Schmeltzer is the author of Elegy/Elk River, winner of the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, and Blood Song, his full-length poetry debut from Two Sylvias Press. His collaborative book A Single Throat Opens, a lyric exploration of addiction, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. He has been published in Black Warrior Review, Rattle, Mid-American Review, and Meridian, among others.