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As human beings, we look for common experiences and want to share our experiences—that’s what writing is all about. You tell someone a story and they try to relate that to their own lives—there's a communal experience. We're trying to puzzle out the meaning of the world around us—that’s what the humanities is all about.

Garth Stein
Author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, a New York Times bestseller
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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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