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.