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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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.

When Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall invited poets statewide to submit work for an anthology, he may not have anticipated receiving some 2400 poems in response. Selecting the first 129 for the original volume wasn’t easy. As Marshall explains, “I received so many fine poems from so many talented poets that I knew I’d be making decisions between many poems that I admired equally, and I’d have to leave out many works that were quite good — and so I decided to set aside another several dozen poems to share with readers via a digital format.”

With the help of students from Jeff Dodd’s literary editing and design class at Gonzaga University, those poems have now been turned into four digital chapbooks, which can be viewed and downloaded here, free.

Our continuing gratitude to Tod Marshall for all he has contributed to poetry in Washington State during his two-year tenure.

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

on poetry

November 10, 2017


“Cultivate possibility through a willed variety of influences.”
Tod Marshall
(b. November 10, 1967)

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quote

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

Poet Laureate two-fer

October 14, 2017

Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall and the Washington 129 anthology will enjoy a full day of poetry in Bellingham on Friday, October 20, 2017.

In the afternoon, Tod will participate in a meet-and-greet at Greene’s Corner, 2208 James Street. Doors open and open mic signup begins at 1:30pm. There will be music and readings from 2:00 to 4:00pm. This event is hosted by poet Betty Scott, musician J.P. Falcon Grady, and Lance & Kristine Bailey, the poetry-loving owners of Greene’s Corner.

Beginning at 7:00pm, Tod will host an evening of readings from Washington 129 at the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room. Reading their anthology poem as well as new and selected works will be poets Alice Derry, Betty Scott, Daniel Moore, Eric Lochridge, Janette Rosebrook, Jennifer Bullis, J.I. Kleinberg, Luther Allen, Paul Piper, Robert Lashley, Sierra Golden, Susan J. Erickson, and Tess Gallagher. The reading is free and copies of Washington 129 and other titles by the poets will be available for purchase (thanks, Village Books!). This event is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA and graciously hosted by the Mount Baker Theatre.

Please join Tod Marshall and friends at one or both of these fine events!

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