My favorite drink is chai tea – whether a simple tea bag with a dash of milk or the sweet dessert called a chai tea latte. I’m drinking at least one delicious cup a day while cooped up at home. I’m about to run out of my favorite liquid concentrate but I am eyeing the chai tea bags in my cabinet and telling them their day to shine is near.

Today I took that delicious mug of chai tea, smelling like heaven, lit a candle, and grabbed a book to read. I have a huge pile of books waiting patiently for the day I will pay attention to them. A book of poetry grabbed my attention and I briefly hesitated before opening it. I may have an English literature degree, and dissected plenty of poems during those studies, but I don’t often find myself drawn to poetry. It’s a rare occasion when I stumble across a poem and get caught up in the beauty of it.

This book of poetry was given to me by a local poet, Stephen Pitters, who frequents my library branch. He coordinates bi-monthly poetry programs at either the Shadle or South Hill branches and always amazes me with his ability to weave poetry, prose, music, sculptures, and other forms of art together to create a multi-faceted artistic experience.

So, I open his book Poems Contesting, sip my tea, and find myself caught up in the beauty of the poetry. The prologue is a poem called “The Light That Shone Brightly”, a tribute to Myrtle Woldson:


She was a quiet sophisticate,

a combination of worldliness

and sound community concern,

a rare jewel, a true treasure who built

social awareness.


I admittedly do not know much about Myrtle Woldson, so I went online and was impressed by her dedication to the Spokane community. I can see why Stephen Pitters says:


My wish was to have met her,

An impossible quest at best,

A meaningful dream, nevertheless.


Stephen Pitters is dedicated to drawing our community together around different expressions of art, so it makes sense he would admire another pillar of our community. And what an excellent poem to lead us through this book that delves into how humanity has so much in common.

This initially unwelcome extended time at home has presented me with new opportunities to learn and grow, to slow down and take the time to enjoy new things. I encourage everyone who normally doesn’t seek out poetry to give a poem a try, especially a local poet who writes about the community and the people that we may also know. To see the world around us in a new way.

Learn more about Myrtle Woldson here.

Learn more about Stephen Pitters here and see what books he has available for check out at the library here.