island poetry

June 27, 2020

The Town of Friday Harbor and Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC) have announced the winners of their first Poetry Garden Contest. A blind judging process was used to review 271 poems submitted by 90 San Juan County residents. Final selections were made by Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna and include 20 adults and 10 students grades 3 to 12.

Winning poems will be published in a book as well as engraved for display at four outdoor poetry gardens located in Friday Harbor at the San Juan Community Theatre, the Mullis Community Senior Center, next to the post office, and at the waterfront viewing area below Downriggers. Congratulations to the poets and to Friday Harbor.

If your summer travels, such as they are, include San Juan Island, be sure to browse the newly installed poems.

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Poetry Garden photo by Rebecca Cook

June 12

June 12, 2020


April 26, 2020

Congratulations to Andrew Shattuck McBride, Jill McCabe Johnson, and the many fine writers whose work is included in For Love of Orcas, which has just received a prestigious Nautilus Book Award in the category Animals and Nature.

Congratulations, also, to Clyde Ford, whose book Think Black won a Nautilus Gold Award in the Social Change and Social Justice category, and to Eric Scigliano, whose book The Big Thaw was awarded Special Honors as 2019 Nautilus Grand Prize Winner.

See the complete list of Nautilus Book Award winners.

give some feedback

March 10, 2020

The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is asking for your feedback on the Washington State Poet Laureate program.

There are two surveys: one for poets and one for Poet Laureate event organizers. If you are both, they ask that you complete both surveys.


a hard act to follow

August 2, 2019

Yes, the current and previous poets laureate of Washington State have set a high bar, but you could bring your own passion, voice, and creativity to the job.

The deadline for State Poet Laureate applications has been extended to Monday, August 5, 2019. Hurry!

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)


May 8, 2019

Today, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, is GiveBIG day. Perhaps you’ve received requests from some of your favorite nonprofits asking for your support. GiveBIG 2019 is a one-day online giving event to raise funds for nonprofit organizations headquartered in or with a service location in Washington State. In some cases, GiveBIG donations may be matched, so they are worth more to the organization. At least 1541 nonprofits are registered with GiveBIG.


May 1, 2019

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed May as Arts Education Month in the State of Washington. It’s a time to celebrate the teachers, administrators, parents, community leaders, and organizations that work hard to bring arts education to all students in our K-12 schools.

“Learning in and through the arts supports students in developing critical thinking and problem solving skills, imagination and creativity, perseverance, alternative ways to communicate feelings and ideas, and cross-cultural understanding and empathy, which supports academic success across the curriculum for students of all learning abilities, and can help address the opportunity gap…” Read the Governor’s proclamation and see more at ArtsEd Washington.

a new poetry map

April 16, 2019

When she was Seattle Civic Poet, Claudia Castro Luna spearheaded a poetry mapping project called the Seattle Poetry Grid. Now that she is Washington State Poet Laureate, Castro Luna has expanded the project to highlight site-specific poems for the entire state.

Washington Poetic Routes is a digital poetry-mapping project that explores Washington’s rich geographical terrain, both in terms of landscape and in terms of the human relationships that unfold across the State.

Visit the map, click the dots to read the poems, and submit your own!

Click here for more poetry map posts.

them’s hiking words

April 6, 2019

This post by Jonathan Shipley from the Washington Trails Association isn’t new, but if the season is nipping at your hiking shoes, it’s definitely worth revisiting. Shipley offers a brief intro to six hikes around the state and pairs each one with a poem. Links included.

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