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Experience the Vibrant Literary Arts Community in South Puget Sound!

Poetry in the Gardens

70 Local poets entered the Poetry in the Gardens Poetry Contest. Ten were chosen to be this year's winning Garden Poets. Beginning on February 3rd and through the end of summer, guests to Lakewold Gardens will be able to listen to their poetry through their phones as they wander the gardens by scanning QR codes placed throughout.


LitFest is a 3-day festival kicking off the opening of Poetry in the Gardens from February 3rd -5th, featuring book signings and panels with 9 local authors, writing workshops, and an open mic on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. LitFest draws together writers and poets of every ilk at every stage of their journey, to share the craft and the stage together!

*LitFest attendees pay regular Lakewold admission. The admission fee is waived for workshop participants.*

Scroll down for more information about Garden Poets, LitFest activities, workshop descriptions, and author bios!

Poetry in the Gardens Contest winners:

Kristy Gledhill, DL Fowler, Tyrean Martinson, Carol R. Sunde, Sayde Heron, Robert Lashley, Hannah Throntveit, Alexandria Maureen Manalo, Kael Moffat, & Ben Williams

Kristy Gledhill - 1st Place
DL Fowler - 2nd Place
Tyrean Martinson - 2nd Place
Robert Lashley - 3rd Place
Carol R. Sunde - 3rd Place
Sayde Heron - 3rd Place
Hannah Throntveit
Kael Moffat
Ben Williams
Alexandria Maureen Manalo

LitFest Events

Friday, February 3rd (soft-opening)

Book Signing with Harper Glenn & B. Eugene B.

12:00 to 1:00 PM

(scroll down for author bios)

Saturday, February 4th

Christina Vega

10:00 to 11:30 AM - Workshop (In-person & Virtual) with Christina Vega

Reclaiming Our Stories: a writing workshop on (re)writing personal narratives to self-empower and actualize writers

Join Blue Cactus Press publisher and poet Christina Vega for a generative writing workshop on reclaiming personal narrative as a tool for self-empowerment and actualization. Participants will have opportunities to explore written and verbal accounts of ancestral, cultural, and land-based narratives rooted in lived experiences; practice using workshop tools to examine, name and uproot harmful biases embedded within those narratives; and draft new stories/narratives that lead to personal empowerment and self-actualization. Workshop tools include storytelling (written & verbal), drafting, intuitive inquiry, and reflection.

Book Signing - Featured Writers & Poets

B. Eugene B., Tamiko Nimura, Julie Baldock, Sean Michael Galvin, Nicole McCarthy, & Harper Glenn

12:00 to 1:30 PM - Book Signing

1:30 to 2:00 PM - Break

2:00 to 3:30 PM - Book Readings & Artist Q&A Panel

3:45 to 4:30 PM - Garden Poet Poetry Reading & Sharing

4:30 to 6:00 PM - Open Mic with Light Refreshments

Sunday, February 5th


10:00 to 11:30 AM - Workshop (In-person & Virtual) with Jennifer Chushcoff

Short Story Starters: Connect with your readers by connecting with yourself

Quickly capture your audience and bring depth to stories with simple techniques. Explore paths for creative writing and cultivate fertile ground for new work by using your senses and memories. Class participants will have the opportunity for hands-on exercises and should expect to leave with fresh material ready for further development. This workshop is applicable to all genres and appropriate for writers of all experience levels. Please bring your own writing implements.

Jennifer's publications include short stories, children's picture books, articles, and ecological poetry collections. She is a hybrid author with traditionally published and independently created work. She’s designed books from start to finish, experienced with editing, art directing, and publishing. Her writing has appeared in television, literary journals, anthologies, and in her award-winning books, Snowflakes, and WA is Water. Her poem Lateral Lines was just selected for the anthology, I Sing the Salmon Home, edited by Rena Priest (Empty Bowl Press). There's nothing that pleases her more than connecting with readers and writers through story. For more, visit

Book Signing - Featured Writers & Poets

Jen Soriano, Sarah A. Chavez, Joanne Clarkson, B. Eugene B., Sean Michael Galvin & Nicole McCarthy

12:00 to 1:30 PM - Book Signing

1:30 to 2:00 PM - Break

2:00 to 3:30 PM - Book Readings & Artist Q&A Panel

3:45 to 4:30 PM - Garden Poet Poetry Reading & Sharing

4:30 to 6:00 PM - Open Mic with Light Refreshments

Author Bios

Harper Glenn
Harper Glenn is an American writer of fiction. In addition to creating works rooted in underrepresented spaces, they are passionate about books that unveil the psychological, sociological, and economic disparities in poverty-stricken regions of the world. Beyond creating narratives, they like vintage books, anatomy, opera, musicals, and old cemeteries. Though born and raised in Georgia, Harper resides in Washington State. Harper’s young adult speculative novel MONARCH RISING released 10.4.22 w/Scholastic Press.
Headshot - Burl Battersby

Burl Battersby (he/him) is a Tacoma Poet who writes under the nom de plume B. Eugene B. He is very active in the South Sound literary community and serves on the board of Write253. Burl has published his memoir, B. Coming Burl (2020), and two books of poetry, Corrected Poems (2020) and In A Past Life (2022). His most recent book of poetry, Wild Rose, will be published in April 2023.


Julie Baldock is a poet and general gal about town who lives and loves in Tacoma. Currently, she is selling a book of poetry, written during the pandemic year, called A Woman of a Certain Age.  She has performed on stages across the country and has been published in numerous places including Grit City Magazine. You can find her teaching writing workshops around Tacoma or selling her books and art at local markets. Follow her at Xeric Ceramics to stay up to date on all events!


Tamiko Nimura is an Asian American writer living in Tacoma, Washington. Her poems, essays and interviews have appeared in Narratively, The Rumpus, Full Grown People, Heron Tree, HYPHEN, Kartika Review, and Blue Cactus Press. She has essays in the anthologies Ghosts of Seattle Past (2018) and New California Writing (Heyday 2012).  She has read at the Looseleaf Reading series (Seattle), King’s Books and Blue Cactus Press (Tacoma), and the San Francisco Public Library. She is a 2016 Artists Up grant recipient and a 2019 GAP Award recipient. She has been awarded a Tacoma Arts Commission Tacoma Artists Initiative Project grant (2021-22) for her memoir-in-progress, Pilgrimage.


Jen Soriano (she/they) is a Filipinx-American writer based in South Seattle. She is author of the chapbook “Making the Tongue Dry” and co-editor of Closer to Liberation: A Pina/xy Activist Anthology. Jen's essay collection, Nervous, about embodied history and the neuroscience of healing, is forthcoming from Amistad/HarperCollins in August 2023.

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Sean Michael Galvin is an American poet based in the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of two poetry books: "Dog Deer" (2010) and "Bad Teeth" (2022). His poetry is raw and heartfelt, inviting readers to join him on a tireless quest to find beauty in the darkness. Connect with him on Instagram @sean_michael_galvin or via his website:
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Nicole McCarthy is an experimental writer and artist based outside of Tacoma. Her work has appeared in [PANK]The OffingRedividerGlass: A Journal of PoetryBest American Experimental Writing, and others. A Summoning is her first nonfiction collection, published by Heavy Feather Review. Find Nicole at

S.A. Chavez author photo - credits Ike and Tash Photography

Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the poetry collections, Hands That Break & Scar (Sundress Publications), All Day, Talking (dancing girl press), and the recently released like everything else we loved (Porkbelly Press). Her new poetry project, Halfbreed Helene Navigates the Whole received a 2019-2020 Tacoma Artists Initiative Award, as well as 2021 residencies at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony & the Macondo Writers Workshop. Chavez's writing explores the beauty and bruise of navigating the intersectional identities of ethnicity, queerness, and class. She teaches creative writing and Latinx/Chicanx-focused courses at the University of Washington Tacoma, leads community writing workshops, and serves as the poetry coordinator for Best of the Net Anthology.

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Joanne Clarkson's sixth poetry collection, "Hospice House," was just released by MoonPath Press in January 2023. Her previous book, “The Fates,” won Bright Hill Press’ annual contest and appeared in 2017. Clarkson has received an Artist Trust GAP grant and a NEH grant to teach poetry in rural libraries. She has Masters Degrees in English and Library Science, has taught and worked for many years as a professional librarian. After caring for her mother through a long illness, she re-careered as a Registered Nurse working in Home Health and Hospice. Besides poetry publications, Clarkson has also written a non-fiction memoir about her Hospice work, entitled, “There’s Always a Miracle.” She lives in Port Townsend, WA, with her husband Jim. See more at

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Lakewold Gardens | 12317 Gravelly Lake Drive Southwest, Lakewood, WA 98499

Mailing Address | Post Office Box 39780, Lakewood, WA 98496

Phone | 253-584-4106

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