Anacortes Word Waves 2012 - Anacortes Magazine - Art, Music, and Community

Anacortes Word Waves 2012


Anacortes Word Waves 2012 was a joint community collaboration for a public poetry literacy project that resulted in several public poetry events benefitting our community members, students and artists. Word Waves was designed to incorporate the spoken word, written word and word play.

For the word play portion of the project, local merchants and businesses helped to bring awareness through a Pen-A-Poem word game.   A community word form was designed to involve as many community members as possible and offered kids and adults the opportunity to have the same word fun by creating their own poetry art works and submitting them to the word waves panel for choosing the winners.

The Pen-A-Poem form provided a list of 78 words that players could choose from and mix with their own words to create poems. There were five game categories that players could pick to write poetry about:

  • Best Island, water or forest theme
  • Best poem with the most list words used
  • Most humorous poem
  • Best junior poem (age 12 and under)
  • Best poem about an Anacortes business

During the month of October, the Pen-A-Poem forms were placed at 20 plus businesses and the Senior Center, made available to teachers on the Anacortes School District website and used as a teaching tool at the Boys and Girls Club. The staff at the Boys and Girls Club made actual magnetic poetry pieces out of the game words and placed them on a class board for the kids to work on throughout the month of October.

We received about 300 entries. A few of highlights from the entries are:

  • Of those entries about 180 came from the Anacortes School District students, Boys & Girls Club, Home School students and youth from the Fidalgo Island Writers Guild.
  • From those 180 students about 110 were in the Junior (age 12 and under category).  There were many excellent entries in this category and about 20 made it into the finalist cut.
  • For the Most words used category, 3 entries were submitted that used all 78 of the game words.
  • We decided on a tie (two winners) in the Humor Category.
  • None of the winners were previously published poets.

Winners were selected in each category by a word waves panel and notified.  The winners were invited to the ‘Evening of Poetry’ event at the Anacortes Library last night and asked to read their own poems.

Best Island, Water, Forest Theme:
Arlene R. Wechezak, “Anacortes Forest Lands”

Best written by a Junior:
Madison Berris, “Untitled”

Best Humor (tie):
Joanne Jones, “If I Were Queen of Dewey Beach”

Best Humor (tie):
Linda Henley, “Fishing in Anacortes”

Best Anacortes Business:
Margo Hurth, “Shore”

Best with Most Words used:
Marcia Neu, “This Rainy Place”

The winners were all very excited to have been selected.  Five of the winners showed up to the ‘Evening of Poetry’ event to read their poems. The junior winner showed up with her whole family and stayed for the entire 2 hour poetry reading with smiling support from her family.

Winner, Marcia Neu, had this to say, “I wrote a poem a day (not nearly as long as my entry!) for 5+ years, but had been in a dry spell for the last year. Your contest gave me the impetus to get back into poetry writing again – thanks so much!”

Other notes of success from the 2012 word waves project.

  • Permanent Public Poetry Installations: Three or four ‘forest’ themed poems were selected from regional poetry works for permanent installation by City of Anacortes at Washington Park along the loop road.  This installation should be installed in the first half 2013.
  • Permanent Public Poetry Installations: Three or four ‘sea’ themed poems were selected from regional poetry works for permanent installation by the Port of Anacortes at the Cap Sante Marina area and will be installed in the first half of 2013.
  • Kathleen Flenniken, WA Poet Laureate worked for two days with students in the Anacortes School District.
  • Anchor Art Space hosted a successful installation of mixed media (fiber, paper and other media) poetry/art works for the month of October and first half of November.
  • The Depot hosted an evening of “word art” displays during the November 1st Friday Art Walk.
  • The ‘forest’ and ‘sea’ themed poems selected for permanent installation by the City and the Port were displayed during the 1st Friday November Art Walk by local galleries and businesses.
  • ‘Evening of Poetry’ was successfully attended by many members of our community.  Three published poets including Kathleen Flenniken, treated the audience by reading selected poetry works.

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