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3rd Thursday Newsletter - Issue 33

Dear Reader,

In the spirit of finding ways to share the news about literary art community events in Tacoma – which has always been a big focus of this newsletter – I have moved the event section to a web page in order to better showcase these happenings. I will still dedicate newsletter space for coverage about particular events and I look forward to continuing to spread the word about the literary arts in our community. I hope to help you find the right event to meet your interests!

If you have or know of a literary arts event happening in the South Sound and I missed including it on the web page, please let me know!

I also want to suggest checking out the Weekly Volcano for the most complete listing of events in the Tacoma area (bar none). All of the Voices of Tacoma events are listed there and I personally use it when I am looking for events to check out.


Don’t miss the third in a series of Autumn Poetry Workshops hosted by Voices of Tacoma: A Gathering of Poets on November 15 .

The event, “Voices of Tacoma: Editing,” will be at 6:00 pm at Moore Library (215 S 56th St) and is facilitated by Jenny Bartoy.

In this free 90-minute workshop, we will discuss how to self-edit our poetry and prose. Looking at examples from various writers, we will talk about tightening the through thread, polishing sentences, looking for music and rhythm, finding pattern, crafting a lexicon, adding sensory details and texture, and more. This session will equip you with tricks and tips to edit your writing for maximum impact. Bring a work in progress if you wish.


In this 33rd issue of the 3rd Thursday Newsletter I want to tell a part of the story about Voices of Tacoma: A Gathering of Poets which hasn’t been widely shared.

To start with, this project is about expressing the spirit of Tacoma through poetry via an anthology, to be published in Autumn 2024. That sounds like an easy concept, right? But it’s not that simple.

Let me explain.

When I think about this project I envision a map, and everytime I try to articulate what this project is about I refer to this map in my head. Yes – this project is about poetry but, more importantly, it is about connecting people through poetry. It is about giving people the opportunity to share what Tacoma means to them through their poems. It is about capturing the essence of Tacoma from the perspective of those who live, love, work, or just have passed through the City of Destiny.

This map in my head helps me think about each of the neighborhoods, streets, alleys, encampments, schools, retention facilities, railroad tracks, park benches, apartment buildings, houses, and the barren and overgrown places where the people of Tacoma live and work.

This map enables me to think about how each person, in each of these places, gives their own meaning to our City.

Though the map in my head shows the detail of our present city, it is superimposed on an older map. This underlying map bleeds through and shows our City’s historical undercurrents.

Just beneath the surface, under each of the modern neighborhoods, one can see the traces of the ripples and tears which ultimately shaped the landscape of the Tacoma we now know.

So why am I saying this project isn’t simple?

The reason is that the goal is to give voice to all Tacomans. The goal is to seek out the voices of those who have not had the chance to express themselves before. This project seeks to give folks the opportunity to share their stories and to create a community that listens and actively seeks to better understand our shared history. And that’s not easy.

In order to try to achieve this goal I continually ask myself questions, including:

  • What part do each of us have, individually and as a community, to enable all the Voices of Tacoma to be heard?

  • How can we ensure we’re not leaving anyone out of the conversation?

  • What can we do to amplify those voices that have not had the chance to be heard before?

So that’s why I talk about a map when I talk about this project. It’s also why I carry around a map of Tacoma to each of the events, and why I will talk to you, if you stop to listen, about ways we can capture these voices and help to let them tell their story.

I hope you can join the conversation and become a part of the Voices of Tacoma.


For questions or media inquiries about the project, please contact

This project is partly funded by the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program.

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