WhenSusan Blair moved to Wenatchee from Seattle in 2013, she soon began to miss onething: an outlet to share and enjoy poetry. She looked high and low to find a groupor a place for this genre of writing, but without luck.

Blaircame to Wenatchee upon retirement and was able to fully immerse herself intoher passion for poetry. As for her background, she graduated from MiddleburyCollege in Vermont with a double major in German and Russian. She moved toSeattle in 1978, working in the realm of computer systems, sales and finallyfor the Government.

In order to satisfy her love for literature, Blair joined the WRITE-ON-THE-RIVER organization (www.write-on-the-river.com). She took a board position as the facilitator of the monthly “Writers Meeting Writers” events for one year. All the while, she was hungry for a place for poetry which the writing organization did not include in its programs.

Susan Blair with group

Theidea brewed in her mind for a few years and in 2018, she was ready to create avenue for poets to gather. With a friend, she came up with the name PoetryPodium, and Café Columbia (www.cafecolumbia.net)at Wenatchee’s Pybus Public Market (https://pybuspublicmarket.org)kindly offered their space for the inaugural event on February 28, 2018. It wasno small showing of poetry fans, either; eighteen people attended thegathering.

Blair has since changed the venue to Radar Station (http://www.radarstationart.com/) at 115 South Wenatchee Avenue due to the quiet and art-oriented space it offers. The Podium meetings are held every last wednesday of the month at the Radar Station. Doors open at 4 pm, the event begins at 4:15 pm. They are free and open to anyone who is interested in either reading or listening.

Thissummer the Podium was welcomed at Joseph Downs’ Lavender Ranch (www.thelavenderboutique.net)in East Wenatchee to enjoy the outdoor setting, surrounded by an ocean ofpurple. Instead of the expected handful of attendees, some twenty people cameto enjoy the evening and the views of the sun setting over the WenatcheeValley.

Perri the Poetry Fairy

Blairhad made previous appearances at the Lavender Ranch events as Perri the PoetryFairy, which is her turquoise-dressed persona to introduce children to themagical world of verse. Perri visited local schools in the past years toenliven the English instruction, but currently the school curriculums leavelittle room for such visitors. Blair has made appearances at the WenatcheeValley Museum and Cultural Center (https://www.wenatcheevalleymuseum.org/)as well as local libraries during this summer to entertain young visitors.

TheMuseum has Blair’s Poetry Activity Books (a set of five) for sale.

BesidesPoetry Podium, Blair also facilitates the Poetry Café, a chance to discusspoetry by others. It is an informal gathering at her house and open to all wholike poetry. Please check www.shrubsteppepoetry.orgfor more information.

Blairbelieves in bringing different art forms together to make the experience evenmore enjoyable. In 2018, she combined forces with East Wenatchee visual artist,Martha Flores (https://visitwenatchee.org/listing/martha-flores-studio/),to organize an evening of poetry inspired by Flores’ paintings. The “EkstaticEkphrastics” event was held at the Two Rivers Gallery (https://www.2riversgallery.com/)at 102 North Columbia St. with a full house in attendance.

Duringthe many meetings and events infused with poetry, Blair discovered severaltalented writers whose work would be worth sharing in a publication; from thatcame her idea for a Central Washington poetry journal. She sent out invitationsto poets to submit their work for judging and worked out the practicalities ofturning the entries into a book. The first Poetry Journal was launched on June9, 2019, at Bob’s Burgers and Brew (www.bobsburgersandbrew.com)in East Wenatchee with forty people in attendance.

Blairis a published poet in her own right. Copies of her poetry chapbook “WhatRemains of a Life” are available directly from her. She has two othercollections in progress, namely “Two Autumns” and “Donna”.

Sincethe first Poetry Podium event a year and half ago, Blair has not slowed downwith her mission for poetry and the following is growing ever greater. The nextPodium will be held on August 28, 4:15 pm at the Radar Station.

Formore information, go to www.shrubsteppepoetry.org.or contact Blair via email at sfblair61@gmail.com.

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