Washington State Poet Laureate

Sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission

Library Love: Toledo, Washington

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This gallery contains 5 photos


Letter to a Young Writer

A few years ago I was asked to write an advice-to-young-writers piece for Richard Hugo House. I came across it recently, and see in it a certain consistency of message — in other words, I still feel this way, so thought I’d share it with you here.

Dear Writer,

Years ago I heard Stanley Kunitz say, “The first job of the poet is to become the person who could write the poems.”

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Hiking and Writing at Deception Pass State Park

Wow, 22 people turned out to spend Sunday, Aug. 10 hiking and writing with me at Deception Pass State Park! Thanks to park manager Jack Hartt, we had a great three-mile hike. And more thanks to Dave and Brenda, two participants who also happen to be wonderful photographers. Their shots will give you a sense of the day. 

Do you have a favorite state park (somewhere outside King county)? Let me know!


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The Hour of Fulfillment: NILA Commencement

This past weekend, I had the great honor and pleasure of giving the commencement address at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts / Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA in Creative Writing graduation.

Writing the talk gave me a chance to think about what sustains me as a writer. I opened with a brief quote from Mary Oliver’s poem “Stanley Kunitz.” Here’s the talk:


the hour of fulfillment
is buried in years of patience—

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Hike & Write Deception Pass State Park: Aug. 10

Deception Pass State Park

Let’s hike at Deception Pass State Park, and see what we have to say about it.

Join me at  Deception Pass State Park for the second “Hike & Write with the Poet Laureate.”

When:  1pm on Sunday, Aug. 10

Where: Pass Lake parking lot at Deception Pass State Park

What:  After a brief introduction, we’ll take a short, meditative hike on the Pass Lake trail, then do a brief, guided writing session in response to our walk. No previous experience with hiking or writing needed. Total hike is about 3 miles; we’ll wrap up by 3p. 

Why: Because it’s summer, and who wants to be cooped up at a desk? 

This event is free, and you don’t need to register in advance — just make sure your vehicle has a Discover Pass. (Better yet – carpool with someone who has a pass.)

Please bring: a notebook and pen/pencil, water, a snack and extra layers of clothing, including a rain jacket.


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