Submit Your Poetry About Salmon!

Salmon are the unsung heroes of our region. Adventurous and brave, they swim from their natal rivers out into the perils of the open ocean. Persistent, resilient, and strong, they swim upstream against swift currents for hundreds of miles to return home to spawn and complete the cycle of life.

Salmon are sacred to my tribe, the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. We celebrate them in ceremony and song, and they have long been central to our Sche’le’ngen, our way of life. By celebrating salmon through poetry in every corner of the state, I hope to raise goodwill and a feeling of reverence for the salmon, a feeling that my people have felt since time immemorial.

Seattle-based writer Timothy Egan writes, “The Pacific Northwest is simply this: wherever the salmon can get to.” Before dams were installed, salmon inhabited streams throughout Washington state, even as far inland as Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and beyond. They have been a huge part of our regional identity, and I hope you will submit a poem or two about our iconic wild salmon. Deadline: September 18, 2022.

This project is supported in part by Humanities WA, the Washington State Arts Commission, and the Academy of American Poets. Empty Bowl Press will publish the anthology in 2023.


  • Submit a 100-word bio;
  • Submit 1-3 salmon poems in a single document by September 18, 2022;
  • Affirm that you are a current resident of Washington state;
  • Give dates and places of all previous publications, including contact information or links;
  • Affirm that you are the author and retain all rights to the submitted work (see “Terms of Use”).

Please submit all poems using this link or the button below. Readers will be doing the first review of submissions in September and will be in touch shortly after that. We look forward to reading your poems!

Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 29th!

Ey’ skweyel!

My name is Rena Priest. I am the sixth Poet Laureate of Washington State and the first Indigenous person to hold this honor. As one of my first activities in this position, I’d like to invite you to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day, which takes place across the U.S. and Canada every April in celebration of National Poetry Month.

This year we’ll celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 29th. I’m pleased to share these pocket broadsides as a gift from the Washington State Poet Laureate program, to be distributed freely by bookstores and libraries during National Poetry Month and beyond.

About the poem: I put out a call for youth poets to send in a short poem or an excerpt. I selected this excerpt by Sadie Olsen for its brevity, and clarity of message. She chose to submit these lines because water is life. The official translation into Xwlemi Chosen was approved by fluent speaker, Ted Solomon. Thank you for joining us in celebrating National Poem in Your Pocket Day!






  • Watermark Book Co.

Bainbridge Island        

  • Eagle Harbor Bk Co.


  • Northwest Indian College Library
  • Henderson Books
  • Eclipse Books
  • Lummi Admin Building
  • Village Books
  • Whatcom County Libraries


  • Neverending Bookshop


  • Ballast Book Co.


  • Shakespeare and Company


  • …and Books, too!


  • Kingfisher Bookstore


  • Darvil’s Bookstore



  • Pearl Street Books & Gifts

Friday Harbor 

  • Bay Bookstore


  • Time Enough Books


  • BookTree


  • A Book For All Seasons

Lopez Island

  • Lopez Island Bookstore


  • Orca Books Co-op
  • Browsers Bookshop

Port Angeles

  • Port Book and News

Port Townsend

  • Imprint Bookstore


  • Liberty Bay Books
  • Bookit Nook



  • Left Bank Books
  • Couth Buzzard Books
  • Madison Books
  • Elliott Bay Book Co
  • Third Place Books
  • Open Books
  • Phinney Books


  • Auntie’s Bookstore


  • A Good Book


  • King’s Books


  • Vintage Books

Vashon Island

  • Vashon Bookshop

Walla Walla

  • Book & Game Company


  • Trail’s End Bookstore


  • Inklings Bookshop