Archive for April, 2011

Whispering Pine Press celebrates GetLit!

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This week is the 13th annual Get Lit! literary festival sponsored by Eastern Washington University. Events run from April 13-17, and include poetry slams, book readings, panel discussions, writing contests, and workshops. For a full calendar of this year’s events, click here. Over 40 nationally acclaimed and local authors will be in Spokane for Get Lit!; past guests have included such luminaries as Kurt Vonnegut, Salman Rushdie, and David Sedaris. Prominent authors for GetLit! 2011 are Tim O’Brien, Sena Jeter Naslund, Maude Barlow, Sam Kean, Matthew Dickman, Louise Borden, Michael Harmon, Suzanne Morgan Williams, and Ani DiFranco. For a full list of authors attending this year’s festival, click here.

The Big Read is an event created by the National Endowment for the Arts with the goal of restoring reading to the center of a community’s culture by “[drawing] communities together around a single book through a month long series of related literary events.” For Spokane County’s third Big Read event, the book chosen is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, a collection of stories about soldiers who served in the Vietnam War. The Things They Carried was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award. The Big Read will culminate on April 16 at the Bing Crosby Theater, when Tim O’Brien and veteran/poet Brian Turner will discuss their experiences in war and their resulting creative works. This event is also part of GetLit!.

To celebrate GetLit!, Whispering Pine Press is offering a 10% discount on all books from April 13-17. Please visit our website to see our list of children’s and adult fiction, cookbooks, poetry collections, and more. If you have any difficulty getting the 10% discount on our website, feel free to call us at (509) 928-8700.

In honor of GetLit!, we are also giving away one free copy of Frost of Spring Green, Karen Hood’s widely-acclaimed first poetry collection. Click here to read a review of the book, then leave a comment on this post to be entered into the giveaway. Don’t forget to include your e-mail address so that we can contact you if you win! Entries will be accepted through April 23 to give everyone time to participate.

Japan Week 2011

posted by Karen Hood
Monday, April 11, 2011

Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now in it’s 19th year, Japan Week is a community festival celebrating the rich variety and beauty of Japanese culture. Beginning with the opening ceremonies on April 16, there are events spread out across the next nine days that explore many aspects of Japanese culture from calligraphy and painting to food, martial arts, and even the anime and cosplay that has become so popular with many American teens. For a full schedule of activities, click here.

The history of the Japanese community in Spokane goes back to the late 1800s, when many Japanese immigrated to the United States to work on the railroads and in the mines. Although many returned to their home country when they were no longer needed for these jobs, by 1910 there were 1,000 Japanese and first generation Japanese-Americans living in Spokane. Over the next 25 years the population dwindled as new laws, both state and federal, were introduced to ban Asians from owning land and immigrating to the US. Many Japanese immigrants had left their families behind, and now that their families were prohibited from joining them in the US, they returned home. By the beginning of World War II, less than 400 Japanese remained in Spokane. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, however, Spokane saw a large influx of Japanese from Western Washington and Oregon who were fleeing government internment camps. After the war, some of them returned to their previous homes while others remained in Spokane. Since that time, the Japanese population has been integrated into Spokane’s general populace, but they continue to honor their heritage through Japan Week and other cultural events throughout the year.

Japan Week is fun for the whole family, with activities that will appeal to all ages. Take your kids to Manito Park this Sunday afternoon for the Children’s Festival, where they can make crafts, learn how to play Japanese games, and more. Or take everyone to see the kendo martials arts demonstration which is sure to thrill. Your anime-loving teen can learn how to draw manga and participate in cosplay while you and your spouse enjoy a sushi cooking class. Whatever you choose to do for Japan Week this year, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time learning about and enjoying the multifaceted aspects of Japanese culture.

Celebrating poetry

posted by Karen Hood
Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy National Poetry Month, everyone! April is a month-long celebration of American poetry, and to kick it off we’re sharing one of Karen Jean Matsko Hood’s lovely poems from Frost of Spring Green. Hood’s widely acclaimed poetry has been published in numerous national and international literary journals and her words bring meaning and power to the simple, ordinary topics. Frost of Spring Green is her first poetry collection published by Whispering Pine Press International. With its beautiful imagery, poignant symbolism, and meticulous crafting, Hood’s poetry will delight readers and bring them to a new appreciation of the world around them.


Oaken Planks

Raised grains of sun-bleached oaken planks
lie beneath my calloused feet,
Weary from the days of work.
The prints unfold to read as tea leaves.
Mapped in hardwood below each cracked sole.
Full of pain with every new step
The mighty oak tree weaves a tale,
Seeing eyes of time recorded.
A hundred years of mighty pride,
Producing acorn’s providence
For generations of squirrels
Eager to devour each tender morsel.
Golden leaves spread to the ground
Swirling down to parched souls,
Waiting for the winter frost
To dance across the oaken casts’ thorny thistles.

© Karen Jean Matsko Hood 2011


Join in the celebration of great American poets like Karen Jean Matsko Hood this month: attend a poetry reading at your local bookstore or library, take a poetry class at the community college, or set yourself the goal of reading one poem a day during April. No matter how you choose to commemorate this special time of year, remember to take a few moments to slow down in your hectic life and notice the small, wondrous details of the world around you. Poetry is everywhere, even in seemingly insignificant things.

Order Frost of Spring Green today as part of your celebration of National Poetry Month!

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