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The humanities are a window into the deepest aspects of the human condition, those things that persist across time and cultures. They familiarize us with the language of emotion and motivation, and the areas of human life that defy quantification. And, despite the claim that studying the humanities is impractical, they develop habits of shrewd observation, thoughtful understanding, and clear expression that are invaluable in every walk of personal and professional life. 

In this age of reality TV, inch-deep internet analysis, and glib sound bites, we applaud Humanities Washington for supporting these timeless lessons.

Bruce Shepard
President, Western Washington University
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Washington State Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Supports and Promotes Poetry Throughout the State

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The Washington State Poet Laureate serves to build awareness and appreciation of poetry — including the state’s legacy of poetry — through public readings, workshops, lectures and presentations in communities, schools, colleges, universities, and other public settings in geographically diverse areas of the state. The appointed poet laureate serves a two-year term.

In April 2007, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that recognized the value of poetry to the culture and heritage of the state by establishing the Washington State Poet Laureate. Washington joined several other states in appointing an official state poet laureate position.

The poet laureate is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA, with the support of Gov. Jay Inslee. The position is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities Washington. Poets can self-nominate every two years through an application process.

 

Washington State Poet Laureate 2016-2018

The current poet laureate is Tod Marshall, who assumed the role February 1, 2016.

Marshall, a poet and professor at Gonzaga University, is the author most recently of Bugle (2014), which won the Washington State Book Award in 2015. He is also the author of two previous collections, Dare Say (2002) and The Tangled Line (2009), and a collection of interviews with contemporary poets, Range of the Possible (2002). He succeeds poets Elizabeth Austen (2014-2016), Kathleen Flenniken (2012–2014), and Sam Green (2007–2009).

Read Marshall's blog at wapoetlaureate.org, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  To get in touch with Marshall or book him for a workshop or presentation, email poet@humanities.org.

Past Poets Laureate

For more about the first Washington State Poet Laureate, visit out Past Poets Laureate page.

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