Responding to the Oso Mudslide Through Poetry and the Arts

The site Art with a Heart presents artistic expressions of support and sympathy for the victims of the Oso Mudslide tragedy for National Poetry Month.

  • April 22, 2014
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  • Crosspost
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  • By Abby Rhinehart

Since 1996, April has been National Poetry Month. But this year, the month takes on special significance. On April 1, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a special declaration asking local poets to use the month as a way to respond to the Oso Mudslide tragedy and send support to the community.

“I call upon poets, educators, librarians, public officials and all Washingtonians to observe National Poetry Month in a more meaningful, personal way by using poetry in activities, ceremonies and programs, as a means to offer comfort and solace to those who are suffering as a result of the Oso mudslide,” wrote Inslee.

To that end, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) has created Art with a Heart – Response to Oso, a forum where local artists, authors, poets and everyday folks can send their responses to the Oso tragedy.


You can read responses to the tragedy on the site, including a poem by Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen wrote a poem, A Formal Feeling Comes.

A Formal Feeling Comes
After Dickinson and Atwood

Start with what is near.
Your own hand. Knotted pine. Graying
picnic table. See before you speak.

Read the full poem on Art with a Heart.

At Humanities Washington, our hearts go out to everyone affected by the tragedy.

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