Monday, April 29, 2013

Nuclear Science & Poetry - a perfect blend!

Events celebrating National Poetry month at the Port Angeles Library concluded on Wednesday April 24th with a lively discussion of Kathleen Flenniken’s collection Plume: Poems – a collection of nuclear age songs of innocence and experience set in around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The discussion was part of the library’s regular monthly book discussion series. A book kit containing 10 copies of Plume will soon be available for other book groups to check out.  To reserve this or any other book kits click here.

In addition to discussing Plume, participants played a poetry game called Exquisite Corpse.  In this version, the group agreed on the poem’s topic and title. Then each member wrote one line of the poem concealed from all the rest.  After the last line was written the poem was then read aloud.

Here is the result:

Nuclear Cows

Do Holsteins sing the

And does their milk glow in the dark?


black & white, and brown
                                                                        with glowing eyes!

And then the animals’ spots mutated.

The cows came home with nuclear laced milk!

                                                                        Moo, moo, mooo…..

Cows are passive. Nuclear is scary.
They do not belong together.

New grass – it’s greener over there.

Flenniken, Washington State’s Poet Laureate for 2012-2014 grew up in Richland, WA next door to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. She and her father both worked at the site.  Kathleen visited the Port Angeles Library earlier in the month and led a wonderful afternoon writing workshop for adults and later read from Plume in an evening poetry reading.  Also featured at that event were local poets Alice Derry and Kate Reavey and poets Juanita Edwards, Brandan McCarty, Cindy Claplanahoo, John Pritchard III and Christopher Thomas from Poetic Blood Quantum  a poetry collective comprised of Native Americans from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Makah Nation and others.

Collections of poetry by Flenniken, Derry, Reavey and Poetic Blood Quantum members can be found in the library catalog. For more information about Kathleen Flenniken please visit her excellent website for poets and poetry fans: .  For more information about library sponsored book discussion groups visit  click on “Events” in Port Angeles and Sequim.

(Photograph of Kathleen Flenniken by Rosanne Olson)

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