laureate lore

June 30, 2018

If you visit the Washington Poet Laureate website, you’ll find a profile of the current PL, Claudia Castro Luna, and a list of the state’s previous poets laureate: Samuel Green (2007 – 2009), Kathleen Flenniken (2012 – 2014), Elizabeth Austen (2014 – 2016), and Tod Marshall (2016-2018).

Western Washington University professor Laura Laffrado is, pretty much single-handedly, working to correct a very significant omission from that list: Washington’s first poet laureate, Ella Rhoads Higginson.

An article by Ron Judd in the Sunday, June 24, 2018, PacificNW magazine section of The Seattle Times details Laffrado’s monumental task and the passion she shares with her WWU students. If you missed it in print, you can still read it online.

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Oregon Poet Laureate

May 20, 2018

Congratulations to Kim Stafford, who has been appointed as Oregon’s ninth poet laureate. Read all about it.

on poetry

April 16, 2018


“Wasn’t it strange that a poem, written in my vocabulary and as a result of my own thoughts or observations, could, when it was finished, manage to show me something I hadn’t already known?”
Tracy K. Smith
(b. April 16, 1972)

. . . . .
Tracy K. Smith has recently accepted an appointment to serve a second term as the nation’s 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, for 2018-2019. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

the latest laureate

March 25, 2018

Congratulations to Susan Landgraf, who has been named Poet Laureate of Auburn, Washington. Widely published, her most recent book is What We Bury Changes the Ground (Tebot Bach, 2017). A former journalist, Susan was a 2007 Jack Straw Writer, a professor of writing, media, and diversity/globalism classes at Highline College, and has taught hundreds of workshops, including at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference, Centrum, and the Marine and Science Technology Center. Her book of writing exercises is expected later this year from Two Sylvias Press. Susan Landgraf takes over from previous Auburn Poet Laureate Marjorie Rommel and will serve until 2020.

. . . . .
photo

“Poetry Rides the Bus”

February 12, 2018

Bus riders in Olympia, Washington, will now have a chance to enjoy poetry on their journey, thanks to Poetry Rides the Bus.” The project, coordinated by Olympia’s First Poet Laureate, Amy Solomon-Minarchi, received more than 120 submissions, from which 22 were selected for posting in buses and bus shelters around the city.

. . . . .
photo by Jeff Chew

remembering Ella

February 11, 2018

We’ve written before about Ella Rhoads Higginson, the first Poet Laureate of Washington State. Now, Laura Laffrado, WWU professor and author of Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature, has initiated a campaign to celebrate this important figure in Washington State poetry with the creation of a bronze bust to be placed in the Reading Room in Wilson Library. Robert McDermott, whose sculpture of Dirty Dan Harris on Fairhaven Green will be familiar to many, has been chosen as the artist.

To learn more or to contribute to the campaign, visit the Western Washington University VikingFunder Ella Higginson project page.

looking back

January 24, 2018

As Tod Marshall rounds out his last few days of official laureate duties, The Spokesman-Review has published a thoughtful interview in which Marshall reflects on his experience, observations, and ideas about what’s ahead. Read Carolyn Lamberson’s interview with the outgoing poet laureate here: The end of the road: Washington poet laureate Tod Marshall looks back on two years of words, inspiration, and road trips.

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