Fawcett, Hylen, Wilcox headline at Poulsbohemian

Monthly poetry reading

POULSBO — Local poets Carol Despeaux Fawcett, Sue Hylen and Finn Wilcox will read beginning at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 at the monthly poetry reading at Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse, 19003 Front St., Poulsbo.

The readings will be followed by open mic.

Fawcett graduated from Western Washington University and earned her MFA degree from Goddard College.

Her memoir and her poetry have won first place awards in the Pacific Northwest Writers Contest and her current work-in-progress, a fantasy novel, was a finalist.

She received a poetry grant from Return to Creativity. She will be reading from her first book of poetry, “The Dragon and The Dragonfly.” She co-writes www.OneWildWord.com, a blog for writers.

Hylen is a poet and photographer who recently retired as arts and cultural manager of the Bainbridge Island Park District.

Her poems have been published in Stone Country, Arnazella, Ferry Tales, Spindrift, Spillway, Exhibition Magazine, Poetry Corners as well as on Seattle Metro buses as part of Metro’s 1994 Poetry Art Project.

In 2001, Hylen self-published her first chapbook, “Double Exposure,” which featured her poems and photographs.

Wilcox worked in the woods at the upper elevations of the Olympics and the Cascades with Olympic Reforestation Incorporated, a forest workers co-op, for 25 years; he planted well over a million trees.

He rode freight trains for several years to learn about the life, journeys, and history of the once-respected American Hobo.

His first book, “Here Among the Sacrificed” (Empty Bowl, 1984), includes the poignant images of legendary Northwest photographer Steven R. Johnson, depicting people in boxcars and railroad yards who appear in Finn’s memorable poems and stories. Wilcox’s latest collection, “Too Late to Turn Back Now,” contains his poems from “Nine Flower Mountain,” detailing travels in China; “Lesson Learned,” a group of love poems; and “Not Letting Go,” a suite of new poems and stories.


“Scattering Ashes

Harrison Lake, Canada

August 17, 2015”

I stand on the lakeshore, gaze

into its blue and green mirror—

cloudless sky above,

algae blooming below.

Your ashes ride the wind,

dust my skin, bits of white bone

speckle underwater rocks

like stars against black moons.

I pinch flower tops,

toss them into the water

only to have the breeze

blow them back to me.

I scoop them up,

throw them out again,

feeling as if I have

done this before —

this ancient ritual of

letting something go

to have it return.

But you are gone —


into the lake bed,

into the water,

into me.

Two blue dragonflies

skim the surface,

laying eggs

over your grave.

A bald eagle swoops

down to catch a fish

that has breathed you

into its gills.

“Seabeck, Hood Canal”

I sit on a rock wall

facing sea and mountains,

journal in my lap,

camera round my neck,

waiting for that time

just before sunset

when clouds part,

when sunfire rains down

on mountains.

A skein of geese soars

above me, pulls apart,

then comes back together

like the part of me that stretches

across the canal.

Here, there are mountains

behind mountains.

I feel the effort it must have taken

to push upward, ascending

to heights unknown.


“While Making Borscht”

Tonight I’ll cut hearts

in the middle

of a beet

and stamp love

on thick homemade

papers that will feel

like someone close

and red and as warm

as this steam

rising and coating

the kitchen windows.

“Midwinter, Bainbridge Island 1989”

Paste up snowflakes

on my kitchen window

juncos at the feeder

daughters swinging sky high

red boots kicking at the gray.


“La Push”

Walking the flats—

through brushed huckleberry

and tall, tough salal—

I find the place

we spread my mother’s ashes

nearly a decade ago.

You can hear the rolling ocean

just beyond this sandy hump

that rises in the silvered-light

of drift-logs,


in thin coastal fog.

I hope she’s happy here.

She was more than just a good woman.

Always that glitter of faith rendered

from a heart

big as these old-growth spruce.

Before I leave,

I make her a headstone

of the perfect blue sky,

above a perfect blue sea

with all its deliberate beauty.

“Lesson Learned”


the heart’s capacity

to endure

the ragged beat

of unclaimed love.

It’s only then that

the soul goes feral—

the mind

wild & weedy.

The heart has its limits though,

even the coyote has enough sense

to chew off a leg

to escape the iron trap.

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