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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On April 28, 2018, Naomi Shihab Nye delivered the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture at Western Washington University in Bellingham. She was inspiring and gracious. The June 2018 issue of Children & Libraries is a special issue devoted to the Arbuthnot Lecture and it includes the full text of Shihab Nye’s talk. Enjoy!

You are invited to join WWU Creative Writing alumni Bailey Cunningham (BA, 2017), Katy Ellis (MA, 2002), Maya Jewell Zeller (BA, 2002) and Taneum Bambrick (BA, 2014) as they read poetry and prose alongside their most influential and inspiring Creative Writing faculty members, including Kami Westhoff, Carol Guess, Nancy Pagh, and Bruce Beasley, respectively.

The reading is free, open to the public, and part of Western Washington University’s Alumni Weekend. It will be held on campus at WWU, Friday, May 18, 2018, 4:30-6:00pm, in Viking Union 565.

Workshop!

March 2, 2018

NOTE: As of March 9, 2018, this event has been CANCELLED.

We previously posted about the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Naomi Shihab Nye. In conjunction with the lecture, but on a different date, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong will offer a three-hour workshop at Western Washington University: A World of Poetry: Featuring Contemporary Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye and Others.

Vardell and Wong, co-creators of The Poetry Friday Anthology series and Poetry Friday Power Book series (representing the work of 150 poets in 800+ poems), will present a world tour of poetry. There will be hands-on activities designed for anyone interested in reading, writing, sharing, teaching, and exploring contemporary poetry for young people, with a particular focus on the work of Naomi Shihab Nye.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2018, 8:30am to 12:00pm.

See the complete workshop schedule on the PoetryCHaT website as well as a registration link.

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.

planning ahead

January 20, 2018

We mentioned back in July that Western Washington University and the Whatcom County Library System had been selected to host the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Naomi Shihab Nye. Since National Poetry Month is likely to be busy, we’re giving you advance notice of the confirmed date for this event, which is FREE and open to the public: Saturday, April 28, 2018, 7:00pm, at the Performing Arts Center, Western Washington University, Bellingham. Her lecture is entitled, “Refreshments Will Be Served: Our Lives of Reading & Writing,” and while the event is free, advance registration is required at WCLS. Read more about the poet and the lecture on the PoetryChat website.

Congratulations!

July 22, 2017

Congratulations to Western Washington University and the Whatcom County Library System, which have been selected to serve as the host site for the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Naomi Shihab Nye.

May Hill Arbuthnot (1884-1969) was born in Mason City, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1922, receiving her master’s degree in 1924 from Columbia University. Along with educator William Scott Gray, she created and wrote the Curriculum Foundation Readers for children — better known as the “Dick and Jane” series. The annual lecture series was created in her honor.

The lecture will be held in the spring of 2018 and will be announced here as soon as a date is confirmed.

Read the announcement here.

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