Monday, June 28, 2010

1st Poet Laureate Writers Workshop - Sun. July 18, 2 pm

The 2010 Soul of the City Writers Workshop Series
Hosted and facilitated by Urban Grace's 2010 Poet Laureate, Tammy Robacker

at Urban Grace Church
902 Market Street
Tacoma, WA 98402-3605
(253) 272-2184

Sunday, July 18, at 2-4:30 p.m.
Poetry Performance Workshop: Reading Your Work Aloud in Public

$10 Donation - Bring check or cash to the class on the day you attend.
(a $10 donation is suggested to help pay the instructors/guests, however if you can't pay and really want to attend, you can donate whatever amount is more doable or just come for FREE!)

Class spaces are limited. RSVPing is required. Simply email your RSVP with your name, and the title of this workshop in your email to:

Join guest teacher, writer, playwright & actress Kisha X. Palmer as she leads discussions with poet laureate and former public speaking instructor, Tammy Robacker on how to read poetry aloud, combat nervousness, impromptu reading and confidence building. Special appearance and performance by two local Spoken Word artists: Josh Rizeberg and Quincy 'Q Dot' Henry. Both poets will visit to perform, share pointers and inspiration on memorization and stage presence. Attendees are encouraged to bring 2-3 of their own poems for classroom activities and stand up exercises. Don't be shy! Join in the fun!CLASS LECTURE TO INCLUDE THESE TOPICS:-Stage as Sacred Space
A discussion on the privilege of being on stage and the dynamics inherently at play before you even open your mouth as the performer
Attitude of gratitude
Letting the audience take you in
Exercise: Entrance and Exit-Walking the Plank - an exploration of the way we carry our bodies

-Timing is everything
A discussion of the value and importance of reading out loud at home, an exploration of the pause-and what kind of eye contact do you use?
Exercise: Styles (we will practice diferent styles of speech --operatic, twang, loud, super fast) with text and then find a neutral.

-Your audience wants to love you
A discussion of the attitude and assumptions that might keep us from being our brightest best self at our readings!

.....And so much more!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wine takes flight in Oly: SWING Bar

In my freelance writing endeavors, I am expanding my horizons (and palate) to write more about food and wine. Since both are a huge love for me --as well as cooking and feeding folks--I feel it is another rich, exploratory arena for me to be creative. I have begun writing some restaurant reviews for SHOWCASE Magazine, and it's sort of one of those jobs that ends up feeling like it's not really a job because you simply love what you are doing (and eating) so much that it just does not feel like work. Here is my latest write-up on the wine bar SWING in Olympia for SHOWCASE--Summer Issue.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

06/24: New Poet Laureate Letterpress Posters


The Tacoma Public Library welcomes poet Tammy Robacker for a premiere reading to celebrate being named 2010 Soul of the City Tacoma Poet Laureate on Thursday, June 24 at 7 p.m. at the downtown Main Library. This event is free and open to the public--cosponsored by Urban Grace Church.

At the June 24 premiere reading, special guests will also be joining Robacker to celebrate poetry, Urban Grace's poet laureate program, and her introduction to the local community. Both former Soul of the City Poet Laureates Antonio Edwards and William Kupinse will be reading their work in honor of the event. Also, three of this year's 2010 Poet Laureate contest candidates, Brittany Short, Deborah Renee Crespo , and Pamela McCauley, will share poetry they submitted for application to the competition. Robacker has also invited Puyallup High School senior, Madison Hamel, to open her premiere with a special poem recital. Hamel was the winning 2010 Poetry Out Loud competition finalist in Pierce County this year.

Also taking place that evening, letterpress artist, Jessica Spring ( and poet, Tammy Robacker ( will be rolling out Tacoma's first Poet Laureate Commemorative Broadside series. Both artists partnered this spring to create the first ever letterpress poetry poster celebrating the Soul of the City Poet Laureate program in Tacoma. Robacker is hoping a tradition has been started to honor the poets and the growing legacy of the poet laureate program by having an annual letterpress broadside created for each new poet who wins the contest. The broadside posters of Robacker's poetry are coupled with Spring's acclaimed letterpress artwork. The posters are limited edition and collectible. They will be signed and sold at the event. Proceeds from the sale of the broadsides will go to support the Urban Grace Poet Laureate program and the artists who created them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

POEMemories - The Old, Red Phone

For quite some time, I have wanted to write a poem about a very early memory of mine: The first phone our family had. I will never forget that clunky, red rotary phone that hung on the wall of our first house. The smooth feel of it; the memory of learning how to use it. It was all so profound to me, I have carried the memory with me for years. I also NEVER forgot our first phone number: 814 336 5864. My father kept that phone number for 40 years or more, until he retired, moved, and eventually passed away in 2004. Here is a poem of mine that attempts to tap into that memory and create the phone as metaphor to make more palpable the sense of foreboding and loss that I, as an adult, would eventually come to know.

The Old, Red Phone

I am four years old
poking one digit in the O hole
of a new, red rotary phone.
of what I do not know,
I dial out
of our very first home
and leave my parents behind;
all alone. There,
where my father shaved
his foamy cloud cheeks
over the old pink sink.
Back then, when my mother
breathed in
the lavender-scented sheets
before she made the beds.
Hello, says my voice
on the other end.
There’s nobody home,
reveals a truth I know.
A tone iced by time
and brittle as bone.
Bitter as a cold wind
that’s kicked in and cut the line.
It drops me. Knocks me
forward by forty years.
I smear the slow empty zero
of what I already know
across the phantom face
of my folk’s old, red phone.

--by Tammy Robacker

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Robacker Runs 'Poetry Station' at King's Fundraiser 06/13

June 13 * 11 am - 4 pm. Artist Craft Fair!

Tacoma Is For Lovers - Fundraiser for KING'S Books - Tacoma, WA
Sunday, June 13.

TIFL presents a special Artist Craft Fair Fundraiser!

A multitude of local artists will have tables featuring arts, crafts, jewelry, letterpress prints, t-shirts, poetry and more!

Also, as Tacoma's new Poet Laureate I will be hosting a 'poetry station' at the event. For a small donation to benefit Kings, attendees can have a personal hand-written poem created just for them by me on the spot - Signed, Dated and Personalized! Other local Tacoma poets will be joining me during the day to help write poems for folks who donate to support Kings Books!

A raffle and silent auction further assure you will go home with wicked art if you make a benevolent contribution. Your purchases help support artists in Tacoma! Part of the proceeds also go to King's Books to help finance changes needed to keep the business viable! Participating artists include Maggie Roberts, Mirka Hokkanen, Chandler O'Leary, Miranda Pollitz, Laurie Cinotto, Ryan Loiselle & Rochelle Wells, Lisa Hasegawa, Jessica Bender, Stella Crumpton, Connie DeBruler, Lindsey Barnes, Oliver Doriss, and Kelsey Parkhurst.

Tacoma Is For Lovers is a community-based organization that annually produces two Artist Craft Fairs and monthly Craft Nights in order to promote the visibility of local artists and encourages reuse, intentionality, sustainability and high craft.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Getting Ekphrastic with Tacoma painter, Trinda Love

This painting, done by artist Trinda Love, hung at the Grand Impromptu Gallery before it closed last year so the Grand Cinema could expand their theater into the space. I wrote an Ekphrastic poem in response to her work, titled: On "View from the Golden Rooms'. Mostly I was struck by the golden light and color she captures and the profound tangibility of her perspective here, done in thick, chunky painted strokes. Love painted this 'en plein air' --which means she did it in the open air of that space, and I keyed in to her concept dramatically as a poet. When viewing the painting, I felt like I was transported into that very room--able to stretch my own arms out of the window and feel the breeze and warm sun on my skin while listening to the city traffic below. If you're a poet looking for new sources of inspiration, I encourage poets to 'Get Ekphrastic' and write in response to art, music, painting or sculpture surrounding you. It's a great way to break out of the writing doldrums some of us experience from time to time.

On ‘View from the Golden Rooms’
A Painting by Trinda Love

I spy up high
with my golden eye
a moment so vibrant
so bright so wide
the window view
has let in the sun
pushing me out of myself.

I lean off the painting’s edge.
A ledge lit so lustrous and warm
the outside buildings sizzle
orange. Luscious as citrus,
the concrete world below
has mastered the miraculous.
Cracked open hopeful
en plein air
and bore fruit. Alight,
from a gilded view,
at such grand height,
I greet the plum-purple streets
and eat this day ripe.

--Tammy Robacker

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Zach Attack in Tac! SYS Founder Reads 06/04

Welcome to the June update from!

It's been awhile since Zach Street has graced us with his 'juicy teriyaki mecca' of Tacoma spoken word poetry. Last year he left Tacoma and moved to Hawaii but his spoken word group, Speak Your Soul is still being run by volunteers in Tacoma. While on the big island, Zach is putting his poetic touch on their arts community too. He's started up a Speak Your Soul chapter in Hawaii now--where events like the Volcano Slam and Hilo Spoken Word occur.

After some international travelling, Zach has found himself back in town short term and he's checkin' in on his literary baby: SYS, Tacoma. He will be the featured poet Friday night and if you have seen him before, you know what a fine, talented, energetic and clever spoke word artist he is--This brother beams with more positive energy and light than there are vowels in the word 'Namaste.'

Not only is Zach guest reading at SYS Friday, but SYS premieres in their new venue at The Den Tea Bar. Their former Tacoma reading venue, Vinum Wine Bar, shut down for business in March 2010 and SYS has been homeless for the past two months.

On Friday, June 4th Zach will be featuring at the Speak Your Soul open mic: The Den Tea Bar on Pacific Ave inside Urban Xchange. The Tacoma Team and Zach Street are excited to welcome you to the new skool location and celebrate one of Tacoma's best old skool spoken word artists! Don't miss this! 8pm.

Make June 2010 the month you speak your soul - because everyone has something to say.

New & Upcoming Poetry Events - Tacoma:
6/4: Speak Your Soul featuring Zach Street @ The Den Tea Bar
6/11: Distinguished Writer Series @ Kings Books
6/18: Mouths & Mics @ Cafe Messina
6/24: Tammy Robacker (Tacoma's Poet Laureate) Reading @ Tacoma Public Library
6/25: Free Ya Mind @ Tully's