On Thursday, November 17, Barnes and Noble will be hosting a poetry reading featuring three Bellingham poets recently published in Pontoon 8, an annual poetry anthology published by Floating Bridge Press.
Every year, Floating Bridge Press receives hundreds of manuscripts from Washington-based poets for its yearly chapbook competition. The competition is fierce, and in the end, only one manuscript is chosen for publication each year. For the poets who did not win, however, there is still one other chance for publication.
Along with the winning chapbook, Floating Bridge Press also publishes Pontoon, an anthology of poems which were found in the manuscripts submitted during the chapbook competition. “[To be published in Pontoon] is considered a great honor,” said Carlos Martinez, one of the poets who will be reading November 17, and a teacher of creative writing and literature in Western’s English department.
Martinez is no stranger to publication; his poems have appeared before in Pontoon , as well as having appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies both nationally and locally. In 2004, his second chapbook, The Cold Music of the Ocean, was published by Finishing Line Press, and recently he was chosen as a 2005 Jack Straw Writing Fellow by Jack Straw Productions in Seattle.
Nancy Pagh, who is also performing at Thursday’s reading, is also faculty in Western’s English department, where she teaches creative writing, writing studies, and literature classes. She, like Martinez, has a long history of publications, having appeared before in pontoon, as well as many other literary journals and anthologies. She published her study of women’s travel literature, At Home Afloat, in 2001.
Also reading on Thursday will be Whatcom Community College’s Terri Cohlene. Cohlene is the author of eight children’s books, as well as the author of plays and poetry, which have appeared in several places. She is also the editor of her own, award-winning imprint and a freelance writer.
Floating Bridge Press, which is located in Seattle, is supporting a reading in Bellingham in order to reach out to communities in Washington beyond the Seattle area. Both its chapbook competition and Pontoon, which are limited to poets residing in Washington, offer publication for writers from all over the state, and, in order to represent that, the press wants to “apprize other communities of this particular publication,” according to Martinez.
You will be able to see Carlos Martinez, Nancy Pagh, and Terri Cohlene live, as well as have an opportunity to purchase Pontoon 8, at Barnes and Noble in Bellingham on November 17. The reading starts at 7 p.m. and is free to the public.