Former State Poet Laureate Pens Book, Donates Proceeds to Program

Samuel Green debuts First Up: Barnstorming for Poetry, a volume inspired by his experiences as the inaugural Washington State Poet Laureate.

Sam Green

Sam Green

Samuel Green, the inaugural Washington State Poet Laureate, has just published a new book. First Up: Barnstorming for Poetry, is a reflection on his work and travels as the state’s first official booster of poetry from 2007 to 2009. Proceeds from its sale will provide support for future poet laureate program activities.

First Up is available for purchase exclusively from Village Books in Fairhaven and Next Chapter in LaConner; Village Books also does mail order. Wholesaler Partners West has also agreed to carry the book at no cost.

First Up

On the Web:
In Person: Next Chapter in LaConner
Village Books in Fairhaven

“I wrote the book originally with the idea that it might help answer some questions about who poets are, what poetry is, and what roles both poetry and an official representative of poetry might play in this state,” Green said.

When state funding for the poet laureate program declined, Green decided the book might help in economic ways, as well.

“It seemed appropriate that a book of stories drawn mostly from experiences as the laureate might be an ideal way to offer some of that support, both financially and through the spread of information.”

Flenniken is grateful for the opportunities that Green’s donation and the poet laureate program help provide.

Kathleen Flenniken

Kathleen Flenniken

“The laureate program draws welcome attention to the enormous well of poetry talent in Washington,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to showcase our state’s poets to a general audience, and it helps connect the poetry community across genres and geographical divides.”

The Washington State Poet Laureate program was created by the state legislature in 2007 to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry through public readings, presentations and workshops throughout the state. Humanities Washington now funds and manages the program in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission.

As the new poet laureate, Flenniken keeps a busy calendar of live events. She also curates The Far Field, a blog showcasing a rich mix of Washington poets.

With First Up, past laureate Green hopes to continue provoking conversation about issues related to poetry in our state.

“I’m trying simply to be a lightning rod to talk about issues that are larger than myself,” he said.

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