Back to Arts

Poetry, art and prose

The best, new literary collections in Tacoma

Artwork created by Ben Horak as the cover art for "Creatures & Cryptids: Field Guide Anthology Series Vol. 1," a graphic novel featuring creative work by local authors and artists, published in 2019 by Mortimer Magazine. Photo credit: Ben Horak

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Spring is here, people, and it's time to dust off that pile of books on your bedside table and start reading (don't think I forgot about that New Year's resolution you made to read more ...) Luckily, Tacoma's literary landscape is teeming with collaborations this spring, each as fresh as the flowers blooming around town. I hand-picked a few of the newest -- and best -- mishmashes of local fiction, essays, poems, and graphic novels I could find, just for you:

Creatures & Cryptids: Field Guide Anthology Series Vol. 1

What do you get when 22 artists and writers come together to create artwork based on fantastical creatures? You get a wickedly-humorous compendium of "cryptozoology." More simply put, you get a collection of vignettes about creatures whose existence has never been proven but are fun to believe in, nonetheless. Creatures & Cryptids is edited by Michael Koehler and includes high-quality artwork by local artists including Colin Andersen, Cameo Hunter, Tuk Morrisson, Grace Witherell and more. One of my favorite creatures in the collection is "Angiportum Incola." This alley-dwelling, night-stalking humanoid preys on "innocent dating app users" and leaves behind crushed Miller High Life cans, cigarette butts and an Apple Airpod wherever it goes. Another favorite is "Canapipa," a small, gooey creature born of cannabis buds and gains sentience while living inside a cannabis flower's calyx. Unsurprisingly, Canipipa sightings only occur when observers are high. 

Creative Colloquy Volume Five

Brace yourself to read some of the best collected writing by authors of western Washington in this lovely print anthology. Creative Colloquy Volume Five, affectionately dubbed "CCV5" by local scribes, is published annually by a Tacoma-based nonprofit, Creative Colloquy. CCV5 includes short stories that'll leave you clutching your box of tissues for dear life, accessible poetry cascading across multiple pages, and full-color artwork by a diverse cast of visual artists. Heavy-hitter creative works include "Persephone's Instagram" by Emilie Rommel Shimkus, "Fuzzy Head" by Heather Ayres, "Footprints" by Jonah Barrett and "This Morning's Rain is Forecast" by Chris Dahl. In total, 18 writers, 13 artists, and a team of editors led by Elizabeth Beck came together to dazzle you with their collected talents in CCV5.

Galactic Dreams Vol. 2

Let me break this book down for you as simply as I can: classic fairytales retold in outer space, with cheeky storylines and all the drama of good science fiction. We're talking aliens, advanced technology, romance and astronomy galore, friends. Less than five pages into reading this beautiful book, which is a collection of three novellas written by Bethany Maines, Karen Harris Tully and J.M. Phillippe, I was hooked! Each novella retells a classic fairytale in a futuristic setting and does so with modern and relatable characters. The three novellas inside Galactic Dreams Vol. 2 are: "The Little Nebula," by Karen Harris Tully (based on the classic fairytale The Little Mermaid); "The Seventh Swan," by Bethany Maines (based on The Six Swans); and "The Glitter of Gold," by J.M. Phillippe (based on Rumpelstiltskin). This was easily one of the best books I picked up since the year began.


This bare-bones poetry collection -- written by Amy Orazio -- strips away all pomp, frill and distracting language from its pages, leaving readers with ephemeral images of the body and landscape. Most of the poems in Quench are short -- less than a page long -- and are completely devoid of punctuation. While that sounds distracting at first, readers will find it forces you to hold onto the emotion of the poem instead of the words or structure. Forget syntax and grammar -- focus on the fleeting moment Orazio invites you to explore, instead. Orazio's poems hold an air of mystery, and it's almost a guarantee you'll read and reread them all to get to the bottom of it all. But trust me on this one, the joy of reading this poetry collection is in the lasting curiosity, not in answering the riddles. So, don't kill the cat. Just read.

Read next close


A show called 'She'

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search