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The best local sportswriter you've probably never heard of writes online for Seattlest ( There, on a near-daily basis, Seth Kolloen—Seattle native, handsome lad, undeniable sports nut—expounds on the triumphs and follies of our local sports teams. Through clean, often blazingly sarcastic writing, Kolloen chronicles everything from local big guns (Seahawks, Sonics, Mariners), college teams, and even our many high-school sports squads. His energy for all things sporty is bottomless, his memory for the geekery necessary for great sports writing vast, and his writing free from the niceties more established sportswriters are shackled by. Few writers in town cover as much with as much passion as Kolloen, and in a perfect world one of our local dailies would snatch him up. Until then, we'll at least be able to read his addictive ravings online. BRADLEY STEINBACHER


Late in May, poet and professor David Wagoner gave the public two opportunities to see at Hugo House his work in progress, First Class, a play about the American poet Theodore Roethke. Like Richard Hugo, Wagoner had been a student of Roethke's (the bard taught at the UW from the late '40s to the '60s), and the substance of the play is a thick compound of this learning experience and Wagoner's own overrich knowledge of the art of words. The play has two parts—the first is set in a UW classroom; the second in a UW office—and the sole role of Roethke was performed by accomplished actor John Aylward. At the end of the one-man show, it was evident to all in attendance that Wagoner was on to something big. First Class is, ultimately, a lesson about the roots, the messy mechanics, and the madness of poetry. And as we learn about what poetry is, about how it works, and how it demands from the writer the kind of sensitivity that often comes at the price of their sanity, we enter and see the world of two poets—the teacher (Roethke) and the student (Wagoner), the father and the son, the dead and the living. CHARLES MUDEDE


This year, Shannon Borg published Corset, a strong and well-received collection of poetry. Borg is no amateur nor is she a mere dabbler in the art of words; she is a trained poet, who, for one, studied under David Wagoner (who in turn studied under Theodore Roethke) and obtained a PhD in poetry from the University of Houston. For the careful reader, her work provides two pleasures. One is intellectual and the other is sensual. Borg's poems are carefully built echo chambers of expressions, fragments, details from other poems. An example: "Why/have we come here, why have we not gone there,/when our rooms are dark and the mind bright with/going?/With wanting to go? In my sleep, I'm awake in Paris/at six a.m., alone in the oyster-scented street,/gutters running with wine..." If you can read this without hearing the echoes, the allusive richness, then you are, as the expression goes, as thick as two planks. But even if the first and highest order of her poems, the intellectual, is missed the actual body of her work—which, like all bodies, requires no culture, no background for enjoyment—is unavoidable. Here we encounter the pleasure of the senses, the smells, the colors, the heavy foods, and the red, red wine. CHARLES MUDEDE


Lyall Bush has only had the job of executive director of Richard Hugo House for a few months, but already he's done smart things. He scraped the guts out of the annual inquiry—where, in the past, anyone could propose talks or games or miscellany on a subject, and the public bought (or didn't buy) tickets—and used all that money to commission new work from writers he likes. And he chose great writers, including Greil Marcus, Rebecca Brown, David Rakoff, Charles D'Ambrosio, Ryan Boudinot, Deb Caletti, Trisha Ready, and Stacey Levine. The organization used to be a collection of vague purposes; there's nothing vague about what Bush—a fine writer in his own right—is doing. He's using Hugo House's resources to bring great writing into the world. Matthew Stadler speculated at a reading earlier this year that Bush will turn Hugo House into "something we can't even imagine." CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE