get posted…on Vashon
September 13, 2016
We heard that there is a poetry post on Vashon Island, so to find out more we went to the source: Ann Spiers, Vashon’s inaugural Poet Laureate. Here’s what she told us:
The Poetry Post, a cedar pole, stands in Vashon town’s Village Green. The post is modeled after Yakima’s Poetry Pole, stewarded by Jim Bodeen of Blue Begonia Press.
The Vashon Post was erected in 2006. Ann Spiers and Zack Krieger led the effort. Loren Sinner Cedar donated the 10-foot clear cedar post. Vashon Parks and the Village Green stewards granted permission for its planting in public space. Bill Ferris’s Raven’s Isle Woodworks carved the letters. Bill Mann drove his tractor carrying the post and augured the hole. The late poet Paul Motoyoshi offered a tea ceremony as a blessing for the Post in the gloaming at the moment of the Winter Solstice 2006.
Once the Post was in place, it was just a matter of adding poems. Some people post their own, others send them to Ann for posting. Some of the poems are recent originals, others are old favorites, and the posted poems are periodically collected and archived. Ann says, “To attract readers I ‘decorate’ the post on farmers market Saturdays and holidays with swaths of seasonal flora, like grasses, apple branches, salal and currant berries, tansy and roadside pea flowers, and dahlia and spring blossoms.”
Sometimes, “the Post is used as a destination, such as a memorial walk. Island poetry events are posted. At times, groups have stewarded the post in my stead, school groups, writing groups.” And the Post is gathering its own set of stories. The post is planted four feet deep with six feet above ground, but once, “someone tried to pull out the post using a chain around its base. The post stood. In yellow jacket years, the bees will mine the paper the poems are printed on, making a filigree of the text.”
If you’re willing to subject your poetry — or your favorites — to public scrutiny, weather and yellow jackets, Ann welcomes poems from all over. You don’t have to be an Islander. Pin up your own or send them in an email to Ann Spiers at firstname.lastname@example.org.