Washington State Poet Laureate
Poet Laureate Supports and Promotes Poetry Throughout the State
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. Chris Gregoire. 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.
The Role of the Poet Laureate
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.
Washington State Poet Laureate 2012-14
Flenniken was raised in Richland, Wash., and currently lives in Seattle. She holds engineering degrees from Washington State University and the University of Washington, as well as a Masters in Fine Arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University. She is president of Floating Bridge Press, a nonprofit organization dedicated to publishing Washington poets, and teaches poetry writing to students of all ages with the support of arts organizations including WSAC, Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program and Jack Straw Productions.
Flenniken’s first book, Famous (University of Nebraska Press, 2006), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, and was a finalist for a Washington State Book Award. Her second collection, Plume (University of Washington Press, 2012), about the Hanford nuclear site, was recently chosen for the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series.
Past Poets Laureate
For more about the first Washington State Poet Laureate, visit out Past Poets Laureate page.
Washington State Poet Laureate Partners
The Washington State Poet Laureate program is a partnership between Humanities Washington and ArtsWA:
Humanities Washington sparks conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across our state.
ArtsWA collaborates with artists and arts organizations statewide to conserve, promote and develop artistic resources.