attention Washington State poets!

March 14, 2012

What does a Poet Laureate really do? Well, here’s one thing…

The newly-appointed Washington State Poet Laureate, Kathleen Flenniken, has assembled a detailed questionnaire to help her learn more about poets in the state. Her accompanying note and the questionnaire are included below. (An unofficial copy of the poetry questionnaire is also included here as a PDF for your convenience.)

Here’s Kathleen:

My goal as 2012 – 2014 Poet Laureate is to broaden the audience for poetry in Washington State. I hope to accomplish that goal in part by finding new opportunities for Washington poets to share their work. I hope you will consider filling out this questionnaire and forwarding it to other poets in order to help me promote poetry throughout our 39 counties and beyond.

The questionnaire is multipurpose and multipart. Fill out as much or as little as interests you. I hope it won’t take too much of your time. Please note that the information you provide will be used by the Poet Laureate program only and will not be shared with unaffiliated organizations. The Washington State Poet Laureate program is sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission.

Return the completed questionnaire to I’ll enter this information into a Poet Laureate program database and begin organizing accordingly.

This questionnaire is in six parts:
1.       contact information
2.       bio and content survey
3.       travel survey
4.       book donation list
5.       poetry submission for PL blog, The Far Field
6.       other pertinent information and feedback


email, postal address (please include county), phone number


Please provide a 50 – 100 word bio. Include your city, please.

Do you have any particular thematic concerns that appear frequently in your work (Examples: war, politics, history, violence, doctoring, health-healing, family, marriage, divorce, sex, sport, domestic life, environment, farming, aging, love)?


I am curating poetry readings in all 39 Washington counties over my two-year tenure. I envision a variety of readers that represent the breadth and depth of our poetry community; many will take place in remote areas. Please note too that I hope to bring new poets to the attention of local audiences, so preference will be given to poets from out of county. These events will be hosted by public libraries and well publicized. I plan to read along with 2-3 other poets; readings will last about an hour. In many cases there will be in addition a reception, workshop, open mike, or other event. I don’t yet have dates, so your answers will be theoretical for now—answer as best you can. If you want to add comments with your answers, please feel free.

In some cases I will be able to reimburse readers for some travel costs or offer a small honorarium. I have a very limited budget, however.

Please note if you can ONLY consider traveling if you are reimbursed.

Please note if you can only travel in certain months of the year, and which.

Refer to the county map and indicate on the list below the counties where you would be willing to read by marking with an X. Or, check “ALL” or a geographic region:


_____PENINSULA (Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Mason)
_____NORTHEAST (Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan, Lincoln, Spokane)
_____SOUTHEAST (Adams, Whitman, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, Asotin)
_____NORTHWEST (San Juan, Island, Kitsap, Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, Pierce)
_____SOUTHWEST (Pacific, Wahkiakum ,Thurston, Lewis, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania)
_____CENTRAL (Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat)

* Adams_____
* Asotin_____
* Benton_____
* Chelan______
* Clallam_____
* Clark_____
* Columbia_____
* Cowlitz_____
* Douglas_____
* Ferry_____
* Franklin_____
* Garfield_____
* Grant_____
* Grays Harbor_____
* Island_____
* Jefferson_____
* King_____
* Kitsap_____
* Kittitas_____
* Klickitat_____
* Lewis_____
* Lincoln_____
* Mason_____
* Okanogan_____
* Pacific_____
* Pend Oreille_____
* Pierce_____
* San Juan_____
* Skagit_____
* Skamania_____
* Snohomish_____
* Spokane_____
* Stevens_____
* Thurston_____
* Wahkiakum_____
* Walla Walla_____
* Whatcom_____
* Whitman_____
* Yakima______


If you have authored a published book or books of poetry, would you be willing to donate and ship to me one or more copies for:

_____ The Poet Laureate Library, which will pass to succeeding laureates and used as an ongoing resource? (One copy only)
_____ Libraries across the state who have requested poetry donations? How many copies? _____

If you check either box, I will be in contact with you about your donation. Thank you for considering it!


The Far Field is a new poetry blog sponsored by the Poet Laureate program that highlights poetry written by Washington State poets. Each week I’ll publish several poems from a variety of voices. I hope to include student work, poems from the spoken word community, established and emerging poets—I want to represent the gamut. Please remember this is a site to encourage young writers too; I will be selecting poems that are suitable for a general audience. Remember too that variety is a virtue—don’t limit yourself to poems about Washington.

I will be soliciting work and accepting submissions too. You may submit up to five poems for consideration in an attachment or a separate email. Please attach all poems in a single WORD or PDF file. Your name and contact information should appear on each page.

I prefer previously published material as long as you hold the copyright. If you do not hold the copyright, you must secure permission before you submit. Your submission implies that you give permission to me and to Humanities Washington to publish. While I can’t guarantee publication, I do look forward to reading your work.

Send all submissions to


Please let me know if there are any Washington State poetry-related events, organizations, presses, or magazines that I have overlooked in The Far Field. You know your area better than I do. List those additions below, with a URL if possible. I hope The Far Field will become a useful resource for poets and that begins with you.

Is there anything else you’d like me to know? I am planning to go into remote area schools to lead poetry workshops, focusing on 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. Perhaps you know of an especially worthy and needy school or population? I’d like to know about them. Do you recognize a specific need in your community? Please send your suggestions along now or later.

Thank you for completing this questionnaire as soon as possible. The information you provide is important to me and to the Poet Laureate program.

Kathleen Flenniken
2012 – 2014 Washington State Poet Laureate


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