We are very pleased to share the news that Claudia Castro Luna, a prominent Seattle poet and teacher, has been appointed the fifth Washington State Poet Laureate by Governor Jay Inslee.

Castro Luna fled war-torn El Salvador for the United States at the age of 14 with her family. She went on to earn an MFA in poetry and an MA in urban planning. After working as a K-12 teacher, she became Seattle’s first Civic Poet, a position appointed by the mayor. In that position, Castro Luna won acclaim for her Seattle Poetic Grid, an online interactive map showcasing poems about different locations around the city. The grid even landed her an interview on PBS NewsHour. She is also the author of the poetry chapbook This City and the collection Killing Marías.

Castro Luna’s term will run from February 1, 2018, to January 31, 2020. She will succeed Tod Marshall, the current poet laureate. Prior to Marshall, Elizabeth Austen (2014–2016), Kathleen Flenniken (2012–2014), and Sam Green (2007–2009) held the position.

The Washington State Poet Laureate program is jointly sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA).

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photo bu Timothy Aguero

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Poet Laureate two-fer

October 14, 2017

Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall and the Washington 129 anthology will enjoy a full day of poetry in Bellingham on Friday, October 20, 2017.

In the afternoon, Tod will participate in a meet-and-greet at Greene’s Corner, 2208 James Street. Doors open and open mic signup begins at 1:30pm. There will be music and readings from 2:00 to 4:00pm. This event is hosted by poet Betty Scott, musician J.P. Falcon Grady, and Lance & Kristine Bailey, the poetry-loving owners of Greene’s Corner.

Beginning at 7:00pm, Tod will host an evening of readings from Washington 129 at the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room. Reading their anthology poem as well as new and selected works will be poets Alice Derry, Betty Scott, Daniel Moore, Eric Lochridge, Janette Rosebrook, Jennifer Bullis, J.I. Kleinberg, Luther Allen, Paul Piper, Robert Lashley, Sierra Golden, Susan J. Erickson, and Tess Gallagher. The reading is free and copies of Washington 129 and other titles by the poets will be available for purchase (thanks, Village Books!). This event is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA and graciously hosted by the Mount Baker Theatre.

Please join Tod Marshall and friends at one or both of these fine events!

a hard act to follow

May 19, 2017

Applications are now being accepted for Washington State’s next poet laureate. The poet laureate serves to build awareness and appreciation of poetry — including Washington’s legacy of poetry — through public readings, workshops, and presentations in communities throughout the state. The new laureate will serve from February 1, 2018, to January 31, 2020. Washington joined several other states in appointing an official state poet laureate in 2007.

The position is sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and Humanities Washington, with the support of Governor Jay Inslee. Current laureate Tod Marshall has driven thousands of miles and held hundreds of poetry workshops and readings across Washington State since February 2016. Marshall, a Washington State Book Award-winning poet and Gonzaga professor, is in the second year of his two-year term. A list of his upcoming events is available via Humanities Washington’s website and the state poet laureate’s blog.

Applications are due July 31, 2017. Read more about the position and download the guidelines at ArtsWA.

laurelWhile Elizabeth Austen continues to serve as Washington State Poet Laureate into 2016, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and Humanities Washington are seeking applications for the 2016-2018 Poet Laureate. The job calls for tremendous commitment, vision, creativity, energy and time. See descriptions of the role and details on the application process on the Humanities Washington website. Applications are due July 31, 2015.

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