Washington State Poet Laureate

Sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission


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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And the winners are…

Sorry I’m  a wee bit late on this announcement — I’ve been on the road, giving readings at the libraries on Orcas and San Juan islands, and am now on a writing retreat at the beautiful Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center.  But enough about me – you want to know who won the Big Poetry Giveaway!

Matthew Silverman and Joseph Harker each won a copy of Kim-An Lieberman’s collection In Orbit, and Deborah Hammond and Brian Wong each won a copy of my book, Every Dress a Decision.

I’ll be in touch with each of them to get a mailing address, and as soon as I’m back on the mainland, will get them off in the mail.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated, and I hope you each had an inspiring National Poetry Month.




What poem will you choose?

April 24 is “Poem in Your Pocket Day”

Share a favorite poem

Share a favorite poem

As you know, April is National Poetry Month. One of my favorite programs is “Poem in Your Pocket Day.” The idea is to put a favorite poem in your pocket, carry it with you through the day, and share it with others.  (If you’re social media-inclined, you can also share on Facebook or Twitter, of course, with the hashtag #pocketpoem.)

But I really like the idea of sharing the poem person-to-person. So, this Thursday, April 24, I’ll carry a copy of Stanley Kunitz’s “The Layers” with me, and read it to my co-workers and friends throughout the day.

What poem will you choose? Where and to whom will you read it?


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