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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La Conner two-fer

November 9, 2017

La Conner, Washington, will host two poetry events on Saturday, November 18, 2017:

  • WORKSHOP. At 1:00pm, Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall will conduct a workshop on Ekphrastic Poetry. The workshop will be held at the Museum of Northwest Art. Cost: $25, 10% discount to Museum members.
  • READING. At 6:00pm, Tod Marshall will host poets Tom Robbins, Tess Gallagher, Samuel and Sally Green, Alice Derry, Michael Daley and Jennifer Boyden for an evening of poetry from the pages of Washington 129. The event, which will be held at Maple Hall, is free.

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photo by Walter Siegmund

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.

big shoes

January 11, 2016

Washington State Poet Laureate (2016-2018)

On February 1, 2016, when Tod Marshall assumes his role as the fourth Washington State Poet Laureate, he has big shoes to fill. Since 2007, when Samuel Green became the state’s first poet laureate, followed by Kathleen Flenniken (2012-2014) and Elizabeth Austen (2014-2016), the residents of the Evergreen State have been treated to a truly impressive array of poetry.

Through our poets laureate, poetry readings, workshops, classes, exhibits and publications have reached every corner of the state, and every county in between. The amount of vision, creativity, time and sheer energy required is difficult to imagine, especially given that the job of poet laureate comes in addition to, not instead of, ‘regular’ work.

We have been exceedingly fortunate in our poets laureate and extend a warm welcome to Tod Marshall, who will bring a new voice and new vision to Washington poetry in the coming months.

You can find additional details on Governor Jay Inslee’s appointment of Marshall on Spark, the online magazine of Humanities Washington.
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photo by Amy Sinisterra

Chuckanut Writers Conference 2014
This is a guest post by Hannah Streetman
.

The Chuckanut Writers Conference is excited to announce the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest as its 2015 beneficiary.

The contest and the conference have stemmed from the same goal — to bring together the community in celebration of the written word. Over the years, they’ve inspired many writers into action.

This year, the conference has again assembled a diverse faculty of twenty-one established poets, authors, agents, and publishing experts to come to Whatcom Community College the weekend of June 26-27, 2015. The poets include Washington’s Inaugural Poet Laureate Sam Green, Sally Green, Denise Jolly, Robert Lashley, and Kate Lebo. You can read about the other brilliant fiction, nonfiction, and publishing faculty members here. Many of them have called Bellingham home at some point. Needless to say, they are proof of the creative talent this lush region yields.

For its fifth anniversary, the conference will kick off with a special poetry edition of the Chuckanut Radio Hour, featuring music from the Lady Crooners. Then there are author panels, pitch sessions, breakout sessions, studio plenary sessions, as well as three new Master Classes. These Master Classes will fill up quickly, so be sure to register early! On the last night, open mics will be held throughout Fairhaven to keep the spirit of the conference going.

The conference is designed to benefit writers of all stages, with an encouraging and relaxed atmosphere. And unlike the writing classes you may have taken in school, no one will grade your work or force you to share. If you register by May 28, the early bird rate knocks $40 off the cost of the conference!

Attendees leave with the practical knowledge to strengthen their work, inspiration to get writing, connections in the literary community, and lifelong friendships. We’re excited to support the contest and work together toward a community strengthened by poetry. We hope to see you there!

A Douglas fir, more than two feet
through, angled downslope,
having had to bend that way
for light.

Samuel Green
from “Falling a Tree 90° to the Lean”

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Streetman - Hannah
Hannah Streetman is a lifelong reader who is entirely fascinated by the world of publishing. She’s working on her bachelor’s degree in creative writing from WWU with a couple more practical minors she keeps switching around. She enjoys oil painting, drinking coffee, and taking daytrips to nearby towns. She would love to spend her life reading and traveling.

The Passing of the Laurel

February 15, 2014

Elizabeth Austen - photo credit John UlmanBy now you may have heard that Elizabeth Austen has been appointed the 2014 Washington State Poet Laureate. Although she assumed her official duties on February 1, there will be a “Passing of the Laurel” event on Sunday, February 16, 2014, at Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle. The afternoon will include a brief reading and talk by Elizabeth Austen and comments by the outgoing Poet Laureate, Kathleen Flenniken. Doors open at 2:00pm.

Austen is the author of a collection, Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011), and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet (Toadlily Press, 2010). She produces literary programming for KUOW radio, a Seattle NPR affiliate, and is a communications specialist and educator at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Read more about Elizabeth Austen on her website and keep up with her 39-county schedule of Readings. Learn more about the Washington State Poet Laureate on Humanities Washington.

Open Books will have copies of Elizabeth Austen’s Every Dress a Decision, Kathleen Flenniken’s Plume (in paperback and hardcover) as well the brand new collection by former Poet Laureate Samuel Green, All That Might Be Done (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014).

We congratulate Elizabeth Austen and extend warmest appreciation to Kathleen Flenniken, who has, during her two years in the position, visited scores of cities and towns, libraries and bookstores, schools and book clubs, conducting readings and workshops and bringing a new appreciation for poetry to audiences of all ages.
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photo by John Ulman

decisions, decisions…

September 2, 2012

What will you be doing on the evening of Wednesday, September 12, 2012? Here are two very tempting (poetic) options in Bellingham, both, alas, at the same time, 7:00 p.m.

At Village Books, recent Poet Laureate Samuel Green will read from First Up: Barnstorming for Poetry, with all proceeds of sales of the book to benefit Humanities Washington, which sponsors the Washington State Poet Laureate program.

At Whidbey Island Bank in Fairhaven, the Independent Writers’ Studio welcomes poet David Lee for a two-hour workshop. Space is limited; advance registration required.

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