This evening, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 6:00pm Pacific, you are invited to celebrate Rena Priest’s appointment by Governor Jay Inslee as Washington State’s 6th Poet Laureate. This very special event is organized and hosted by the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, Humanities Washington, ArtsWA (the WA State Arts Commission), and the Washington Center for the Book. Past Laureates Claudia Castro Luna, Tod Marshall, Elizabeth Austen, Kathleen Flenniken, and Sam Green (in absentia) will be honored guests as we gather to pass the laurel in an evening of poetry, speech, and song. Produced by Children of the Setting Sun Productions.

Register here.

your turn?

October 24, 2020

Applications are now being accepted for the position of Washington State Poet Laureate.

The position serves to build awareness and appreciation of poetry through public readings, workshops, and presentations in communities throughout the state.

The new laureate will serve from April 15, 2021-April 14, 2023. The position is sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and Humanities Washington, with the support of Governor Jay Inslee.

To be considered, applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and submit an application online. Applications must be submitted electronically by 5:00 p.m. on December 4, 2020.

Those wishing to apply are encouraged to attend a webinar on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. or Wednesday, October 28 at 5:00 p.m.

The current poet laureate is the wonderful Claudia Castro Luna (a hard act to follow, as were her predecessors). A Washington State Book Award-nominated poet and creator of Washington Poetic Routes and One River, Many Voices series of readings along the Columbia River, Castro Luna has held hundreds of poetry workshops and readings across Washington State since February 2018. See more on the Washington State Poet Laureate blog.

Is it your turn?

Durable Grace

October 13, 2020

There’s no Skagit River Poetry Festival this year, but you can still join the Skagit River Poetry Foundation and former Washington State poet laureate Elizabeth Austen for Durable Grace: An evening with Terrance Hayes, on Sunday, October 25, 2020, at 5:00pm Pacific. The event is free (donations welcome and encouraged) and will stream live on the Skagit River Poetry Foundation website.

More on Terrance Hayes. More on Elizabeth Austen.

Olympia two-fer

September 11, 2019

The Olympia Poetry Network (OPN) invites your participation in a weekend of laureate poetry, LaureateFest.

On Saturday, September 21, 2019, 1:00-3:00pm, there will be a panel discussion with Washington State Poets Laureate Samuel Green, Kathleen Flenniken, Elizabeth Austen, Tod Marshall, and Claudia Castro Luna. That evening, beginning at 7:00pm, there will be a LaureateFest reading. Both events are free and will be held at Norman Worthington Conference Center, Saint Martin’s University.

On Sunday, September 22, Elizabeth Austen will conduct a workshop, “The Title as Frame and Invitation,” 11:00am-1:00pm, at Heart Of The Deernicorn studio in downtown Olympia. Workshop is limited to 20 participants and registration is required.

Washington needs you

June 20, 2019

Do you have an abundance of energy, creativity, time, patience, and poetry smarts? If so, you could be the next Washington State Poet Laureate.

Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) are accepting applications 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 January 16, 2020, to January 15, 2022.

The deadline to apply is July 26, 2019.

View application guidelines here.

Pictured, from left, recent Washington Poets Laureate Tod Marshall, Claudia Castro Luna, Elizabeth Austen, Kathleen Flenniken. (Not shown: Samuel Green)

Friday in Anacortes

January 21, 2019

On Friday, January 25, 2019, at 7:00pm, Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse will welcome poets Elizabeth Austen and Ed Harkness for a late-winter reading. Singer/songwriter Erik Christensen will also perform. Join them.

The monthly reading series is coordinated by Michael Daley.

Passing of the Laurel

January 18, 2018

Washington State has been exceedingly fortunate in our Poets Laureate. Sam Green (2007–2009), Kathleen Flenniken (2012–2014), Elizabeth Austen (2014-2016), and Tod Marshall (2016-2018) have been generous advocates for poetry, tirelessly traveling back and forth across the state to bring the experience of poetry into our lives. They have supported local poetry at every level, and have challenged us to become finer writers and listeners.

They have set a high bar. And now, the laurel will be passed to another accomplished and energetic poet, Claudia Castro Luna, who will serve as Washington State Poet Laureate 2018-2020. On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, the official Passing of the Laurel will be held at the Seattle Public Library, Central Library, and will feature readings by Marshall, Castro Luna, former poets laureate and other Pacific Northwest poets. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7:00 p.m.

Show your support for this valuable program and our wonderful poets laureate. The event is free.

The poet laureate is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA, with the support of Gov. Jay Inslee. The position is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities Washington.

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).

. . . . .
photo bu Timothy Aguero

Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 11, 2017, 2:00pm, and join Redmond Poet Laureate Shin Yu Pai and the Atlas Obscura Society for a reading from Washington 129 at the historic Georgetown Steam Plant. Place-based poems and the Georgetown Steam Plant will include readings by Elizabeth Austen, Kevin Craft, Arlene Naganawa, and Carl Palmer. The event is free, but registration is required and space is limited. Read the fine print and register here.

Friday in Auburn

April 22, 2017

April 28, 2017

Here come the poets laureate! Northwest Renaissance Poets presents an evening of poetry with an illustrious lineup: current Washington State poet laureate Tod Marshall, former Washington poets laureate Elizabeth Austen and Sam Green, Auburn poet laureate Marjorie Rommel, and youth poet Summer Barnett. Poets on the Ave, 7:00pm, Friday, April 28, 2017, at the Auburn Avenue Theatre, will include readings, refreshments and more in this wrap-up event for National Poetry Month.

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