As poets, we are inspired — directly and indirectly — by the words and teachings of other poets. As human beings, and as poets, we struggle to find ways to honor losses that often seem overwhelming. This page finds itself at the intersection of inspiration and loss. It is not meant to be comprehensive (or morbid), but to offer a small selection of apt words of recollection and consolation. The poets represented here have lived in, been inspired by, or had a powerful influence upon, the Cascadia region. The list will expand as time allows.
 

Jim Milstead
“The Bard of Bellingham”

1927 – 2019

In his own words, Jim Milstead was “Born in Chicago. Moved to Fresno, CA. Entered the Marine Corps, occupying northern China. Graduated from Fresno State College. Worked at the Linear Accelerator in Livermore, CA. Entered graduate school, spending 35 years as a biological control researcher at UC Berkeley. Moved to Bellingham in 1992. Now I write.” A prolific poet of gymnastic language, tickling humor, acute insight, and profound emotion, Jim was author of the poetry books Collage (Independent Writers Studio Press, 2015) and Scenario (Akimbo Publications, 2015), was a three-time Boynton winner, a vigorous participant in local open mics, and for years an inspiring sight, walking miles each day through Bellingham, notebook in hand.

 
Patrick Lane

March 26, 1939 –
March 7, 2019

Obituary: University of Victoria
Obituary and interview: BC BookLook
Reflections: Vancouver Sun

photo Chris Hancock Donaldson
 
 
 

Sam Hamill

September 5, 1943 – April 14, 2018

Obituary: The New York Times
Obituary: The Seattle Times
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ursula K. Le Guin

October 21, 1929 – January 22, 2018

Obituary: The New York Times
Additional tributes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Madeline DeFrees

November 18, 1919 – November 11, 2015

Obituary: The Seattle Times
Conversation: Image Journal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Carolyn Kizer

December 10, 1925 – October 9, 2014

Obituary: The New York Times
Video tribute: The Cortland Review
 
 
 
Jack McCarthy

May 23, 1939 – January 17, 2013

Obituary: Boston Globe
Obituary (PDF): Dartmouth College
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Robert Sund

November 29, 1929 – September 29, 2001

Biography: Robert Sund Poet’s House Trust
Obituary: The Seattle Times
 
 
 
 
Denise Levertov

October 24, 1923 – December 20, 1997

Obituary: The New York Times
Obituary: The Seattle Times
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
William Stafford

January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993

Obituary: The New York Times
Commentary on Stafford: Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Raymond Carver

May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988

Obituary: The New York Times
Bio: Poetry Foundation
 
 
 
 
 
 
Richard Hugo

December 21, 1923 – October 22, 1982

Reflection: The Paris Review
Profile: HistoryLink
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Theodore Roethke

May 25, 1908 – August 1, 1963

Stanley Kunitz on Theodore Roethke
Life and Career: Modern American Poetry
 
 
 
 
 
Ella Rhoads Higginson

~1862 – December 27, 1940

Profile: HistoryLink
Interview with Higginson scholar, Laura Laffrado