Dia de los Muertos

The weather folks are calling for snow in Spokane this weekend; I can’t say that I’m excited about driving in ice and sleet and that fun powdery stuff, but I do enjoy the changes in the season–Halloween and the Day of the Dead, of course, as iconic moments when we acknowledge the spirits that have gone before, the fact of our own mortality, and, maybe, the monsters that lurk about in the worlds through which we move.

October was busy!  I had a wonderful visit with the Red Wheel Barrow Writers in Bellingham; big thanks to JP Falcon Grady and Betty Scott for organizing; Jim Bertolino came out for the event and read some poems with his cow friends watching from behind.  The WA 129 Reading in Bellingham was also a great joy; Tess Gallagher and Alice Derry came over from the Olympic Peninsula and anchored what was a wonderful evening.  Luther Allen and Judy Kleinberg are energetic and creative presences in Bellingham; Village Books is one of our state’s great stores; BHAM is just a great place for the arts.

And just a few days ago, Pomeroy and the Denny Ashby Library gave me a chance to drive across the SE part of the state–and enjoy the rolling hills of the Palouse and the startlingly large windmills that rotate around and around and around like clocks measuring the passage of clouds.  I also learned about A. G. Farley, poet laureate of Washington from 1939-46.  Many thanks to Lillian Heytvelt and the folks at the high school who hosted me!

AG Farley

Like Farley (above), I’ll soon “take my shingle down” from this appointment: this poet will no longer be serving.  Look for an announcement from Humanities Washington and Arts Washington in the next few weeks that will name the next poet to serve our state.  I know who it is, and I’m excited for the poet, the poetry communities in Washington, and all people in Washington who value language and words.  The organizations had a hard decision to make from excellent finalists, and they made a wonderful choice.  So, another transition:  falling leaves, snow, the change of seasons, the passing of the laurels.

But not for a few months.  First:  some driving.  Stevens pass and Robert Creeley:

drive, he sd, for
christ’s sake, look
out where yr going.

I probably should look out where I’m going before I get too far ahead of myself–to Walla Walla and Redmond, Puyallup and La Conner, Waterville and Pullman.  Lots more poetry stuff to share and to experience in these last three months:  WA 129 events, the soon-to-be-released digital WA 129 chapbooks, workshops and chats, Yusef Komunyakaa coming to Gonzaga, a celebration of Native American poetry in Spokane, and the always poetic moment that is the start of the Jayhawk basketball season.

4 thoughts on “Dia de los Muertos

  1. Barbara Guilland

    Dear first poet of the state for these past two years, I have really enjoyed your journeys and reporting as you’ve met with hundreds of lovers of poetry around the state. How wonderful to be in touch vicariously with all the people so inclined to read, write, and recite. Though sometimes hidden, we are legion, and can be found. Thank you.

    On Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 10:01 AM, Washington State Poet Laureate wrote:

    > todmarshall posted: “The weather folks are calling for snow in Spokane > this weekend; I can’t say that I’m excited about driving in ice and sleet > and that fun powdery stuff, but I do enjoy the changes in the > season–Halloween and the Day of the Dead, of course, as iconic momen” >

  2. Teresa Vanairsdale

    Tod,
    Will miss your awesome postings about poetry around our state, the state of poetry in general, and it’s all good. I did not get into the 129th Anthology but was happy to represent Spokane in the Spokane County Library District’s 75th Anniversary Anthology, which I was honored to read for last night. Will miss your posts and have ideas about who’s next. Thanks.
    Teresa Vanairsdale

  3. todmarshall

    Teresa,
    Thanks for your kind words; was hard to pick just 129 from the many poems submitted; glad that your work got shared with a larger audience through the SCLD 75th anthology, a great project.
    Tod

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