Prose, Poetry, and Macaroni: Seattle’s Lit Crawl 2016

Lit Crawl is Seattle, WA’s biggest and baddest annual event of poetry and prose readings. With 15 venues, 35 readings, and 5 phases, Lit Crawl is a massive uplift of local voices and art, as well as the perfect niche for a literary nerd. We went to the first four phases, and were blown away by the showcase of talent. In case you missed eNotes live documenting the event on our Instagram, we’ve recapped some highlights.

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First up was the Poetry Northwest reading in downtown Seattle at a place called Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum. Folio is housed in the same building as the YMCA Central Branch Building; as poet Jane Wong mentioned, you could smell the chlorine of the YMCA pool from the small library we were in. This aquatic touch was fitting, because the president of the Seattle Cephalopod Appreciation Society and my former professor, Sierra Nelson, read first. Then Megan Snyder-Camp read her nature-filled prose poetry, followed by a reading by Jane Wong, author of the poetry collection Over Pour.

We hopped on the light rail and made our way over for Phase 2 at the next venue, Vermillion—a bar that doubles as an arcade and art gallery (score!). This reading was hosted by Natasha Marin, creator of the Reparations Project, which encourages white people to support people of color in their communities. This reading featured a number of emotionally provocative, local poets, including Robert Lashley, Imani Sims, Anastacia Renee, Quenton Baker, Sakara Remmu, and Andy Yun. Even though the room was PACKED (most audience members could barely see the performers) their voices were powerful enough to keep the audience engaged. The performers focused a lot on themes of being a person of color in American systems and breaking down white fragility and guilt.

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Jessica Mooney, Neal Thompson (top); Jean Burnet, Jeanine Walker (bottom)

For Phase 3 we walked a block away to the Cheap Beer and Prose series of Lit Crawl. Cheap Beer and Prose is often done at Hugo House, but this time it was held at the Velocity DanceCenter. Jean Burnet, Jessica Mooney, and Neal Thompson, read from their short story collections and memoirs while the hilarious Jeanine Walker hosted.

For the final phase (for us) we went back to Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar and saw Steph Kesey present her series Hey There, Macaroni to an audience for the first time. The series went through the phases of love and rejection by means of animated macaroni GIFs. It was an eye-opening and genuine collection that was originally meant as an act of love for her close friend’s experiences with love and loss. Kesey plans to drop her macaroni GIFs for the whole world to enjoy on January 1 (follow her progress on Instagram).

Did you attend this year’s Seattle Lit Crawl? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!