In case you missed this (as we did), Intersections of Poetry and Civic Life was a reading and conversation event that featured Rena Priest, Washington State Poet Laureate; Tod Marshall, Spokane poet and Washington State Poet Laureate (2016-2018); Jourdan Imani Keith, Seattle Civic Poet; and Zinnia Hansen, Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. The event was moderated by Marcie Sillman, co-host of the doubleXposure podcast and former KUOW arts reporter, and it is available for viewing on TVW.

Poetry and Civic Life

March 10, 2022

Join prominent poets from across the state on Saturday, April 2, 2022, 12:30pm to 2:00pm, for a free public event in celebration of National Poetry Month. “Poetry and Civic Life” is a reading and conversation event that will feature Rena Priest, current Washington State Poet Laureate; Tod Marshall, Spokane poet and Washington State Poet Laureate (2016-2018); Jourdan Imani Keith, Seattle Civic Poet; and Zinnia Hansen, Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. The event will be emceed by Marcie Sillman, co-host of the doubleXposure podcast and former KUOW arts reporter.

The event is free and open to the public. It will take place in person at Hugo House in Seattle and be available to livestream through ArtsWA.

Thank you!

December 22, 2020

Year in and year out, whatever the circumstances, our poets laureate encourage and support the presence of poetry in our lives. If they’re paid, it’s a pittance, though they say the rewards are considerable. Some laureates serve for a year, some for two, some, well, just serve. At the close of this highly irregular year, some of our regional poets laureate are completing their terms, others are continuing behind the scenes to figure out ways to bring poetry into our homes and hearts during 2021. This post is simply an acknowledgment and thank you to this group of creative individuals. You are appreciated!

(pictured from left)
Top row
Claudia Castro Luna (Washington); Susan Landgraf (Auburn); Tia Hudson (Bremerton)
Second row
Gwendolyn Morgan (Clark Co., WA); Sady Sparks (Olympia); Raúl Sánchez (Redmond)
Third row
Jourdan Imani Keith (Seattle Civic Poet); Bitaniya Giday (Seattle Youth Poet Laureate); Chris Cook (Spokane)
Bottom row
Abby E. Murray (Tacoma); Susan Lynch (Vashon); Anis Mojgani (Oregon)

If we’ve missed anyone, apologies, and please let us know in the Comments. Also, we note that Ellensburg, Washington, has recently approved a city poet laureate position, but has not yet named the first poet to serve.

THANK YOU, poets laureate!

April in Anacortes

April 24, 2019

The April poetry reading at Pelican Bay Books will feature Jourdan Imani Keith and Larry Laurence, with music by Brad Killion. Join them for an evening of words on Friday, April 26, 2019, at 7:00pm.

untitled*

October 7, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Izetria Grace-Lind, grade 12

i’ve known rivers,
big and cold and intimidating
yet teeming with life and trust and promise.

i’ve known rivers sparkling with fish scales,
with rubber boots and fly fish castings.
as big brown mother bears protect and feed their young,
tiny white seagulls pick at fish skeleton bone
and roaring boats riding wave and foam skid past,
filled with whooping fisherman.

i’ve known small rivers, with
slick mossy green pebble underneath flowing crystal
so cold to fingertip’s touch and always moving.
small bullhead fish spasm about under rock and shell
and neon seaweed float and tickle over shriveled palm.

i’ve known rivers that seep into the holes in my boots,
whispering stories of the ancestors into my ears
with every watery sweep,
sending my every harried thought downstream,
past reeds towards the sea and into the yellow horizon.

i’ve known all these rivers —
seen them grow, recede, and thrive,
i’ve known those rivers.
and i miss them.

. . . . .
I will be 18 once the poem is read, but am currently 17 and a senior from Bellingham, born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in Kodiak, Alaska. My family moved up here during the summer of 2016 and this will be my second published poem.

The poem is about my life and experience in Alaska as well as my connection to the environment and to my Alaskan Native cultures. It’s based off of a prompt based on the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes, given by Jourdan Keith during her short two-day residency in my poetry class taught by Amy Cushman at Squalicum High School.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Izetria Grace-Lind. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

May Reading Series

May 2, 2017

It’s once again time to hear the voices of the Jack Straw Writers Program. There are three readings scheduled at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle. Each reading will feature four 2017 Jack Straw Writing Fellows hosted by 2017 Writers Program Curator Jourdan Imani Keith:

Friday, May 5, 7:00pm: Jamaica Baldwin, Steph Kesey, Brandon Young, and D.A. Navoti
Friday, May 12, 7:00pm: afrose fatima ahmed, Catalina Marie Cantú, Calvin Gimpelevich, and Wancy Young Cho
Friday, May 19, 7:00pm: Quenton Baker, Ellie Belew, Hera McLeod, and Ashlan Runyan

The readings are free and you may want to allow a little extra time to view the exhibit of Glass Pyrographs by Etsuko Ichikawa and take in Meditations on Water, A Sound Installation by City Meditation Crew with Vaughn Bell.

Poetry on Buses Heads up, King County (Washington) poets: Poetry on Buses will be headed your way soon. The 2014/15 program accepted 365 poems, which were posted inside Metro Transit buses and published online. (You can still read them on the Poetry on Buses site.)

The 2016/17 project, directed by Poet Planner Jourdan Imani Keith, anticipates accepting an equal number of poems and encourages King County writers of all ages, all levels of experience and all languages to submit their work on the theme “Your Body of Water.”

“We are all bodies of water, connected to one another through the water web. Your body of water is connected to streams, rivers, lakes, tides, waterfalls, toilets and faucets, to present homes, childhood homes and ancestral ones by memory, by the water cycle, by stories. Come, tell your story through poetry.”

Submissions will be accepted May 15 – September 30, 2016, and along with buses and online viewing, this year’s winning poems will also be seen inside Sound Transit trains. Watch for updates on the Poetry on Buses website or sign up for email updates. Meanwhile, Poetry on Buses is hosting a series of free, bilingual community poetry workshops in King County starting May 1 and running through September.

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