Washington State Poet Laureate

Sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission

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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.


Hike & Write With Me at Cama Beach State Park, July 20

"Hike & Write with the Poet Laureate" begins July 20 at Cama Beach State Park.

“Hike & Write with the Poet Laureate” begins July 20 at Cama Beach State Park.

Grab your notebook, daypack* and Discover Pass and meet me at Cama Beach State Park at 1p on July 20 for “Hike & Write with the Poet Laureate.”

I’m kicking off a brand new part of my work as your Washington State Poet Laureate, combining two of my great loves: writing and hiking.

We’ll meet at 1pm on Sunday, July 20 at the Cama Beach State Park Welcome Center for a brief conversation about poetry, take a short (less than 2 miles) hike on one of the park’s trails, then stop to do some writing together. The event will wrap up by 3p. After that, of course, I hope you’ll continue hiking or writing as the landscape and your mood inspire you.

This is a free program, and there’s no need to register in advance — you just need to be sure your vehicle has a Discover Pass.

Find directions to Cama Beach here.

*Your daypack should include water, snacks and extra layers of clothing, including a rain jacket. And don’t forget that notebook and pen!

The next Hike & Write event will be  Sunday, August 10 at 1p at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island.





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Celebrating Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

From the New Yorker: Maya Angelou’s Life in Photos.


Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

from “Still I Rise

Here are a few places you can find celebrations of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life and work:


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Poetry on Buses: Writing Home



King County residents!  The Poetry on Buses project is back. This is great news – whether you’re a bus rider, a poet, or both. I’m delighted to see that the project is now multilingual, and includes free writing workshops in English, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese, taught by wonderful poets including project lead Roberto Ascalon, Anna Vasileskaya, Mohamed Shidane, Raul Sanchez and Ky Huu Nguyen.

The theme is “Writing Home.” I understand that there will be four buses dedicated to poetry and 366 poems online at poetryonbuses.org.

Submissions of 50 words or less are due by June 30, 2014.

Visit http://poetryonbuses.org for all the details.



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