Elizabeth Austen is a Seattle-based poet, performer and teacher. She served as the Washington State poet laureate for 2014-16, and as KUOW public radio’s poetry commentator for nearly 20 years.
- Watch Elizabeth performing at Town Hall Seattle.
- Watch this short video profile on ArtZone (segment begins at 1:50).
She spent her teens and twenties working in the theatre and writing poems. A six-month solo walkabout in the Andes region of South America led her to focus exclusively on poetry. She is the author of Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011) and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet, part of the 2010 Toadlily Press quartet, Sightline.
Her poems have appeared online ( The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily), and in journals including Willow Springs, Bellingham Review, the Los Angeles Review, the Seattle Review, DMQ Review, and anthologies including Poets Against the War, Weathered Pages and In the Telling.
She is a dynamic performer of her own and others’ poems, and has been featured at the Skagit River Poetry Festival, Richard Hugo House Literary Series, Bumbershoot and elsewhere. She frequently teaches the art of poetry aloud, believing that “something magical is possible in a performance that doesn’t happen anywhere else—something electric, immediate, and entirely ephemeral…an exchange between performer and audience that is fluid and a little bit dangerous.”
For nearly two decades, Elizabeth produced literary programming for KUOW 94.9 public radio, one of Seattle’s NPR affiliates, introducing recordings of Pacific Northwest literary events and interviewing local and national poets. Search for “Elizabeth Austen” or “poetry” at www.kuow.org for audio links.
She served as the Washington “roadshow” poet for 2007, giving readings and workshops in rural areas around the state. She is the recipient of grants from Artists Trust, 4Culture and the City of Seattle, and is an alumna of Hedgebrook, Artsmith, the Whiteley Center, the Jack Straw Writers Program, and Antioch University-Los Angeles (MFA in poetry, 2001).
She makes her living as a content strategist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she also offers poetry and journaling workshops for the staff.