Time to Say Thank You and Farewell

My notebooks are full of DIY phonetic pronunciations of Washington place-names (“pond-or-RAY”), snippets of landscape descriptions (“so many shades of green, and not one the color of money”), early drafts of what eventually became poems for Bedtime Stories, Citizenship Day and Country Doctor Community Clinics, ideas about how to improve a workshop or a prompt, new favorite restaurants (Cugini, in Walla Walla).

No two years of my life have passed more quickly — or been as rewarding on so many levels — as these. The whole experience of serving as the Washington State poet laureate was an incredible privilege, and I grew as a writer, teacher and person in ways I suspect I will be assimilating for some time.

Continue reading “Time to Say Thank You and Farewell”

Meet Your New Poet Laureate: Tod Marshall

 

MarshallPoem
TodBridgeI’m delighted to tell you that Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Tod Marshall as the Washington State Poet Laureate for 2016-18. This is great news — Tod is a marvelous poet and a gifted teacher, and he will be a terrific advocate for poetry in our state. His term begins Feb. 1, 2016. Tod plans to use this site, so if you haven’t yet signed up to follow wapoetlaureate.org, please do.

If you want to get a sense of Tod’s voice and sensibility as a poet, give a listen to “Three Dreams from the Eastside of the Mountains,” as featured on KUOW.

Continue reading “Meet Your New Poet Laureate: Tod Marshall”

Tod Marshall: “That Ongoing Work”

That Ongoing Work

Most of us know only smoke:  dirty gauze, grey
weight on each cough of an hour.  Red eye
of the sun lingering, that slow arson
plotting with lightning, both hiding in clouds,
and worse:  most of us have occasionally cursed
the haze, rubbed watery eyes, mumbling my day,
my breath, my unburnt minutes.  We’re like that.  Try,
instead, to feel real heat, to hold hands open

and near hot embers, blue propane of a grill;
to see meat slowly sear, grease sizzle
into cinder. It’s okay if you fail.
Just try.  And try, too, beneath blue skies when wind
clears smoke away, try to recall the blackened land,
and maybe try becomes a small act to heal the abundant ash, the pain.

—Tod Marshall

“That Ongoing Work” by Tod Marshall. Used by permission of the author. Read more of Tod Marshall’s work at todmarshall.com