Poetic Shelters

May 22, 2020

The ever-busy, ever-imaginative Claudia Castro Luna, Washington State’s Poet Laureate, has introduced a new project for these times: Poetic Shelters.

“This project asks you to consider the poetics of your home and how its physical and emotional character is changing during this time. The home, whatever that may be for someone, is a space we each know intimately and can therefore represent poetically by sharing our memories, frustrations, daydreams, and also by by describing its physical configuration.”

Poems, mini-essays, and accompanying photos, if available, are invited. While Poetic Shelters is Washington-centric, contributors from other locations are welcome to submit.

Visit Poetic Shelters for more information and to read a sampling of poems.

Poems to Lean On

March 14, 2020

If you, like Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, are feeling somewhat confused, isolated, and worried in these uncertain times, please share a poem.

From now through Wednesday, April 15, 2020, you are invited to submit a link to a favorite poem (or one of your own) that offers fortitude, hope, resilience, and humor, along with a two- to three-line explanation of what about this particular poem resonates with you.

Read Claudia Castro Luna’s invitation and submit your poem by email to poet@humanities.org.

Thank you.

February 7, 2020

In case you missed the announcement of this exceedingly juicy bit of philanthropy, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has granted $4.5 Million to The Academy of American Poets. Believed to be the largest grant ever made by a philanthropic institution to support poets in the United States, the unprecedented amount will enable The Academy of American Poets to fund its Poets Laureate Fellowship program for the next three years.

In its press release on the grant, Poets.org cites the work of four poets laureate, including Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna.

What a fine gift!

another year of Claudia!

December 5, 2019

Humanities Washington and ArtsWA announced this week that Governor Jay Inslee has extended the term of Claudia Castro Luna, the 2018-2020 Washington State Poet Laureate, to January of 2021. This represents a huge commitment on Claudia’s part, for which poets and poetry lovers across Washington can be grateful. Read the full story.

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Photo by Timothy Aguero

a little kick for poetry

November 14, 2019

We recently highlighted a Kickstarter campaign for Claudia Castro Luna’s ambitious project, One River, a Thousand Voices. An all-or-nothing funding effort, it has been named a Kickstarter “Project We Love” and still needs a lot of support.

If you have a few bucks to give, crowdfunding is a lot like voting: one person, one vote, one dollar, can make a difference. It’s also instructive and intriguing to see what’s going on in the support-poetry world. For example,

Copper Canyon Press is running an all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign to support the 2020 publication of Indigo by Ellen Bass along with books by nine other authors (Traci Brimhall, Victoria Chang, Leila Chatti, John Freeman, Heather McHugh, Philip Metres, James Richardson, Alberto Ríos, and Ed Skoog).

There are also crowdfunding opportunities for poetry books, music, performance, film, and travel on IndieGoGo and gofundme (including a nearly three-year old, apparently still open, project to publish My Friend Jack, a collection of work by the late and beloved Jack McCarthy).

Most crowdfunding projects offer the option of supporting in someone’s name, so as we approach the gift-giving season, you might consider the win-win possibilities.

You may not know that in addition to serving as Washington State Poet Laureate (and other concurrent professional and personal responsibilities), Claudia Castro Luna is completing a two-year stint as Designer in Residence at Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts. Her SVC residency culminates with an ambitious project: a poem and illustrated book, One River, a Thousand Voices, that celebrates the Columbia River’s energy, beauty, and power, and honors the resilience of Native peoples who for millennia have lived along its banks.

Claudia’s goal is to place this artist’s book in all 67 Library Districts and all 27 tribal libraries in Washington State. To support that goal, which includes a signed, hardcover, accordion-fold edition as well as paperback and recorded editions, she has initiated a Kickstarter campaign. Read all about it and support it if you can.

workshop reminder

October 5, 2019


Just a quick reminder that there are terrific poetry workshops coming up in Bellingham on Saturday, October 26, and Saturday, December 7, 2019. Terrific instructors. No previous poetry experience needed, but advance registration is required. All the details on the WORKSHOPS page.

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