Another year goes by and another autumn appears along with LitFuse poetry festival. This year I took my trusty buddy Odin along with me. I didn't arrange a doggie sitter in time, so luckily the hotel was pet friendly, and Odin does well in poetry classes, just like his name sake. We packed up his alligator and my notebooks and we were off to Tieton, Washington.
This is my 10th LitFuse out of 11 possible years. It is probably my favorite weekend of the fall because I get to spend it in the warmest community of poets I know of in the world. It is a place you can just walk in and start talking to people like you have known them for years, and you just met them in line for wood fired pizza. Odin blended right in. We both made new friends in minutes on our arrival, and I caught up with some old.
Tieton, or Mighy Tieton, an arts organization that revitalized the town of Tieton, Washington, is the board that supports the annual poetry workshop gathering known as LitFuse. A big chunk of us who attend have been doing so for many years, and every year there is a new contingent and students from various schools from around the state. Tieton is nestled on the hills of Yakima Valley and is known for apple production and now mosaic tile art, with the Tieton Mosaic Project.
When Odin and I arrived we settled right in, signed up for the poetry slam and got some pizza.
As the opening poetry slam is for "page poets" I decided to perform my new pantoum form poem, as form poetry is a new adventure for me. I went really early and set the stage for some other experimental "slam" attempts. It was a great night of poetry to open up the event.
After, we drove back to our hotel in Yakima, as there are no places to stay in Tieton. Turns out the official hotel of LitFuse was right next door at the Oxford Inn, I chose the Oxford Suites. But we did well as the Suites provided a first floor pet friendly room that opened up out to patio for the Odes. He got his own couch, and I got a King size bed. As the first class starts at 8:30 am we were going to have an early morning so we went right to bed.
Odin was the muse of the festival, alluring poets left and right with his handsomeness and his pure sweet loving energy. He shuffled around the different workshops I took making friends as I learned about poetic collaboration to incorporating Hindu themes into my writing. He tried to help a couple of times. By late afternoon it was time for a break - so instead of trying to sit through readings we went on an adventure to Wilridge winery to take in some views and explore their grounds.
There were 3 other dogs at the winery so it was a combination of relaxation and concern that one of the dogs might get weird around Odin. Odin is just the chillest and will let any dog run circles around him, but some other dogs can be assholes to Odin. When we got back for the poets banquet, he was pooped so we made a bed for him and he sat out dinner.
The next morning, day two and the final workshops of LitFuse I made sure to bring his alligator with me to the classes. It was big hit and he made a few photos and memories for other poets.
Then before we knew it Sunday afternoon was upon us and it was time to make the trek back home to Seattle. Another LitFuse came and went, this time with my buddy in tow, making it the "year of the dog" at LitFuse for some, definitely for me.