Poet, teacher, intramural soccer player, Frelard dad.
Poet, teacher, intramural soccer player, Frelard dad.

Because generosity is a reflex for Seattle poet and professor Bill Carty, he begins his Message to the City with a couple strong book recommendations. These should appeal to panicked parents camped out with kids, or to anyone else smart enough to know that children's books contain some of America's best poetry.

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Robert McCloskey's classic Blueberries for Sal mostly reminds us—at this moment in time, at least—that blueberries exist, but also that summer's welcomely strange adventures are just beyond the (hopefully) flattening curve. Carty also mentions the "great aerobic exercises" in Molly Idle's Flora the Flamingo, which should help perk up all of us cooped up reclusives in slow decline.

But we won't spoil all of Carty's recs. Here's the rest of them, presented along with the real highlight of the show: a reading of two poems "against despair," as he says, from Huge Cloudy, his flat-out knock-down drag-out so-good collection of poetry from Octopus Books. Pick it up at your local bookstore. It's nothing but hits.

If you want to follow along, you can read "Not a Moat" over at Boston Review and "Huge Cloudy" over at Verse Daily.

As his website will tell you, Carty grew up on the Maine coast. He's the author of Huge Cloudy and the chapbook Refugium. When not writing high quality poetry, he's selecting it from mounds of submissions as the senior editor of Poetry Northwest. You can take a class with him at Hugo House or Edmonds Community College, and your kids can take a class with him at UW Robinson Center for Young Scholars.

"Not a Moat" and "Huge Cloudy" are two of Stranger books editor Rich Smith's favorite poems in the book, but one of the many others is "Grace, Then Meat," which Carty offered to include here. Smith dedicates that last line to all of you, for after this whole thing is over.

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Thanks for the lightness, Bill! And have a good day in quarantine, everyone.


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Previously in this series:


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Price Suddarth's message to the city on April 1.
Kary Waysons message to the city on March 31.
Kary Wayson's message to the city on March 31.

Ellen Forneys message to the city on March 30.
Ellen Forney's message to the city on March 30.

Major Scaless message to the city on March 29.
Major Scales's message to the city on March 29.

E. J. Kohs message to the city on March 28.
E. J. Koh's message to the city on March 28.

Ken Jenningss message to the city on March 27.
Ken Jennings's message to the city on March 27.

Demarre McGills message to the city on March 26.
Demarre McGill's message to the city on March 26.

Lynn Sheltons Message to the City on March 25th.
Lynn Shelton's Message to the City on March 25th.

Timothy White Eagles message to the city on March 24.
Timothy White Eagle's message to the city on March 24.

Cookie Coutures message to the city on March 23.
Cookie Couture's message to the city on March 23.

Sarah Rudinoffs message to the city on March 22.
Sarah Rudinoff's message to the city on March 22.

John Osebolds message to the city on March 21.
John Osebold's message to the city on March 21.


Ben Gibbards message to the city on March 21.
Ben Gibbard's message to the city on March 20.

Nathan Chans message to the city on March 19.
Nathan Chan's message to the city on March 19.