I’m not abandoning this blog. Not entirely. But let’s be honest. I’ve posted infrequently, at best. Now that I’ve launched wapoetlaureate.org, that’s taking all the blogging energy I’ve got. So if you follow me here, I hope you’ll follow me there.

Thank you.


Floating Bridge Press is now accepting submissions for its 19th annual Poetry Chapbook Award!

Who is eligible: Washington State poets

How to submit: Electronic submissions only (see www.floatingbridgepress.org)

Reading fee: $12.00

Page limit: 24 pages

Deadline: Saturday, March 1st, 2014

All entrants will receive a copy of the winning chapbook, and individual poems will be considered for inclusion in Floating Bridge Review. Winner to be announced in spring 2014. Reading in fall 2014.

Details at www.floatingbridgepress.org—click “Submissions” near top of home page.

The Next Adventure


As many of you already know, I started a two-year term as the Washington State poet laureate on Feb. 1, 2014. My charge is to “build awareness and appreciation of poetry … in geographically diverse areas of the state.”

Like my predecessor, Kathleen Flenniken, I’m committed to visiting all 39 counties — celebrating Washington poets and poetry, giving readings, teaching workshops.  The other day I visited Metsker Maps near Pike Place Market and bought this wall map. I stand in front of it, tracing my finger along the highways, rivers and county lines, familiarizing myself with the terrain.

Over the next few weeks I’ll start planning poetry road trips and create a dedicated poet laureate website. In the meantime, I’ll be reading in Olympia (Arts and Heritage Day), Yakima (with Elissa Ball), and Seattle (with Kathleen Flenniken) — please visit this site’s “Readings” page to see where I’ll be next. I’d love to hear your ideas about places I should visit, organizations and poets I should collaborate with.

I had a chance to talk with KUOW’s Steve Scher about taking on this next adventure. You can listen at kuow.org.

The poet laureate program is sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work        – Wendell Berry

I’m guest editing the next issue of Floating Bridge Review – please consider submitting (and please share this widely — the call is open to all poets, not just those in Washington state).

Help Wanted: The Poetry of Work

Work – or the lack of it – shapes our personalities, our days, and our health. For some, it defines our status. Floating Bridge Review #7 seeks poems concerned with the interplay of labor and identity: first jobs, lay-offs, job hunting, unemployment, hard labor, happy hour, housework, sex work, volunteer work, retirement, the multiple and never-ending labors of parenthood.

Submission guidelines:

  • E-mail up to three previously unpublished poems as a single Microsoft Word document or single PDF file.
  • Put FBR7 SUBMISSION in the subject line of your e-mail and be sure to include your mailing address.
  • Send to floatingbridgepress (at) yahoo (dot com).  No cover letter needed, but please include a brief bio.
  • Deadline:  March 31, 2014.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions, but ask that you notify us immediately if the work is accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Floating Bridge Review is published by Floating Bridge Press

The quote above is from Wendell Berry’s poem “The Real Work.”


When I posted about William Stafford last week, I wasn’t able to get my cursor on the link to this segment I did for KUOW on his poem “You Reading This, Be Ready.” It’s one of my favorites, a touchstone I return to again and again. I hope you’ll give it a listen.

Poet William Stafford at the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service camp for conscientious objectors.  (One of many photos at the Lewis and Clark College Stafford archives online:  http://www.lclark.edu/william_stafford/multimedia/)

Poet William Stafford at the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service camp for conscientious objectors. (One of many photos at the Lewis and Clark College Stafford archives online: http://www.lclark.edu/william_stafford/multimedia/)

Every January, writers and readers celebrate William Stafford by gathering to read his poems to each other. Next month’s celebrations will have the added dimension of also marking what would have been Stafford’s 100th birthday.

I count Stafford among my earliest and most persistent influences. Here’s a KUOW segment from a few years ago that includes archival audio of Stafford reading “A Ritual to Read to Each Other.”

On Jan. 23, I’ll be part of a gathering of poets at Elliott Bay Books, reading from William Stafford’s work. The event is curated by poet and Elliott Bay bookseller David Wheeler, and includes our state Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken, Rebecca Hoogs and Gary Lemons. This is a free event, and it starts at 7p.  Do come – it’s bound to be a joyful and moving evening, celebrating a voice that still resonates.

Do you know about Indies First, part of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30?  Sherman Alexie put out a call:

Now is the time to be a superhero for independent bookstores. I want all of us (you and you and especially you) to spend an amazing day hand-selling books at your local independent bookstore on Small Business Saturday (that’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 30 this year, so you know it’s a huge weekend for everyone who, you know, wants to make a living).

Here’s the plan: We book nerds will become booksellers. We will make recommendations. We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends’ books. Maybe you’ll sign and sell books of your own in the process. I think the collective results could be mind-boggling (maybe even world-changing).

Who could resist that? So, this Saturday, you will find me at two wonderful independent bookstores, and I hope you will share this information with others and buy lots of books at your local independent bookstore.
  • From noon to 2p, I’ll be at Couth Buzzard Books in Greenwood. Other local authors including Peter Mountford and Wendy Joseph will be there throughout the day
  • From 3:30 to 6p, I’ll be at Open Books in Wallingford. The brilliant Maged Zaher will be there from 11a to 2p.
  • Elliott Bay Books is also participating, with our state poet laureate Kathleen Flenniken among the writers planning to be there.
Open Books, the center of my poetry universe.

Open Books, the center of my poetry universe.

Please come and say hi and buy some books!


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