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Get your poetry motor running for Valentine's Day

Now that the snowstorm is a soggy memory, it's time to warm up your pens and your hearts.

Once again, The Bellingham Herald will run love poems written by Whatcom County residents in honor of Valentine's Day. It can be a poem you've written before, or a new creation. Either way, the deadline to submit one is Feb. 6. The poems will run in the Herald Feb. 13.

Poems can be e-mailed to me at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com, or mailed to Valentine's Day poems, c/o The Bellingham Herald, 1155 N. State St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Or, if you're burning off holiday pounds, walk your poem down to the Herald business office in person.

Be sure to include your name, age and town of residence, and your phone number in case questions arise. If you're still puzzled, call me at 360-715-2291.

LOVE UNCENSORED

The day before the Herald publishes Valentine poems, you can hear nearly 20 local couples read love poems aloud. Local poet Luther Allen invited couples to share poems at SpeakEasy 6, "Love Uncensored," from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 12 at The Amadeus Project, 1209 Cornwall Ave.

At previous SpeakEasy events, five poets took turns reading. For "Love Uncensored," each couple will have five minutes to read poems, either their own or their favorites.

Some of the couples are poets, including Allen and Judy Kleinberg, and Anita Boyle and Jim Bertolino. Others aren't, such as Chuck and Dee Robinson, co-owners of Village Books.

"We're not screening poems," Allen said. "I have no idea what to expect."

That suggests it should be fun to watch. It also suggests it may not be appropriate for kids.

Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

LIMERICKAL POLITICAL

As long as we're talking poetry, the Herald also plans to publish county residents' limericks to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. We've done it before, but never during a presidential election year, so feel free to submit a political limerick.

Limericks on other topics are fine; just keep them family-friendly.

The limericks - whether new or green with age - will run in the Herald March 12. Again, you can e-mail them to me, or mail or bring them to The Herald.

'WHOEVER SAVES A LIFE ...'

I've written before about Sebastian Mendes, the art professor at Western Washington University who Portuguese grandfather, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, defied orders during World War II and issued more than 30,000 visas so Jews and other people fleeing the Nazis could pass through Spain to the safety of neutral Portugal.

As a result of his disobedience, Mendes was stripped of his diplomatic job and died penniless. Decades later, he won recognition as a Holocaust hero.

The U.S.-based Sousa Mendes Foundation, created to honor him, recently started a search for people and family members who were rescued by Mendes.

The early list includes several famous people, including artist Salvador Dali; Hans and Margret Rey, authors of the popular "Curious George" children's books; and King Vidor, who directed such movies as "Our Daily Bread," "The Fountainhead" and "War and Peace." Vidor also directed the black-and-white Kansas scenes in "The Wizard of Oz."

For more about the foundation, go to sousamendesfoundation.org.

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