Big thanks to Marcie Sillman and KUOW 94.9 for this on-air check-in (including a recent poem) at the mid-point of my stint as the Washington State Poet Laureate.

(You can find my event schedule at wapoetlaureate.org.)


Poet Diane Raptosh

Poet Diane Raptosh

I’m delighted to welcome Diane Raptosh, a poet who is currently serving as Idaho’s Writer-in-Residence, to Seattle.

We’ll read together at Elliott Bay Books on Sat., March 14 at 7p.

Raptosh is a prison studies scholar and a cultural critic. Check out her TEDxBoise talk: Poetry, Democracy and the Hope of Sounds.

To whet your appetite, here’s an untitled poem from her most recent collection, 
American Amnesiac
, which was long listed for the National Book Award:

The self is a thousand localities

like a small nation—assembly required: borders and roads,


armies, farms, small and large pieces of parchment. I stand by

all the territories I have ever been, even as I can’t


remember them. I am a locum—ear to the emperor penguin, a banner ad

blinking to the hoi polloi. Since I’ve become John Doe, I swear


I can feel most objects with sixty digits

instead of five. This makes me think


of Lisette. Makes me miss her left collar bone. Her hips’ wingtips.

A train moans from a far hummock.


Which reminds me that everyone I’ll have to live without

I must help to find a place within. Which is an act


of granite will. A strain. A ditty.

An exercise in utmost beautility.


from American Amnesiac, by Diane Raptosh

                             (Etruscan Press, 2013)


I knocked, but Mr. Frost was not receiving visitors.

I knocked, but Mr. Frost was not receiving visitors.

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.”



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