Since 2008 I’ve been curating the monthly readings of the Redmond Association of Spokenword, or RASP, in Redmond, Washington. I was on the board before then, too, but since 2008 it’s been my responsibility to book a mix of poets, novelists, memoirists, and other writers and performers—including the occasional storyteller, dramatist, and musical performer. We’ve also had young adult and children’s book writers. Readings have been on the last Friday night of each month and include a Q&A with the featured reader and an open-mic reading. Sometimes I MC as well. In January of 2016, RASP moved from its longtime home at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center to VALA Art Center in Redmond Town Center, where the readings are now surrounded by artwork instead of blackboards and chalk dust. After VALA closed its doors in Redmond, RASP had several transition months at Brick and Mortar Books at Redmond Town Center and then the Redmond Heights Senior Living Center. Then, in February of 2019, RASP moved to Centro Cultural Mexicano, where our readings continue to be surrounded by art. I became president of RASP in 2018, and also continue to curate the readings.
In 2013 I proposed that RASP publish an anthology of poetry by its regular attendees and featured readers. That resulted in Here, There, and Everywhere, and we had a well-attended reading to launch the book on 23 August 2013, complete with harp music (including a rendition of the Beatles song that gave the book its title). The anthology is divided into three sections. The “Here” section focuses on poems about the Puget Sound area, while “There” collects poems written about other locations. And “Everywhere” features poems that are, ahem, neither here nor there. For more information, see the RASP poetry anthology page, or purchase the book on Amazon. You can also read my introduction and see photos of the inaugural reading.
With RASP as a sponsor, I also founded the Poets in the Park weekend conference in 2004, and repeated it in 2005, both times held at Clise Mansion in Redmond’s Marymoor Park. In 2014 and 2015 I revived Poets in the Park as part of my Redmond poet laureate duties, changing it to a free one-day festival in Redmond’s Anderson Park, complete with mainstage and second-stage readings, a book fair, workshops, and such outdoor activities as a labyrinth, mini-golf, hula-hoops, ring-toss, haiku and other poetry on sticks, chalk art, and even the King County Metro poetry bus. For more information, visit the Poets in the Park page.
For more information about the Redmond Association of Spokenword, visit the RASP website.
To see photos from a typical monthly meeting, visit Google Photos. These photos are from the 26 January 2016 reading at VALA Art Center.