Graphic: David Haldeman Back To All Blog Posts

Submit Your Poetry About Salmon!

Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest is calling for submissions to a new poetry anthology about salmon, which she calls “the unsung heroes of our region.”

Rena Priest, Washington State Poet Laureate, was just awarded a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets! As part of the fellowship, she is creating an anthology of poetry dedicated to salmon, and is calling for submissions.

“Salmon are the unsung heroes of our region,” she says. “Adventurous and brave, they swim from their natal rivers out into the perils of the open ocean. Persistent, resilient, and strong, they swim upstream against swift currents for hundreds of miles to return home to spawn and complete the cycle of life.

“Salmon are sacred to my tribe, the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. We celebrate them in ceremony and song, and they have long been central to our Sche’le’ngen, our way of life. By celebrating salmon through poetry in every corner of the state, I hope to raise goodwill and a feeling of reverence for the salmon, a feeling that my people have felt since time immemorial.

“Seattle-based writer Timothy Egan writes, ‘The Pacific Northwest is simply this: wherever the salmon can get to.’ Before dams were installed, salmon inhabited streams throughout Washington state, even as far inland as Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and beyond. They have been a huge part of our regional identity, and I hope you will submit a poem or two about our iconic wild salmon.”

The deadline to submit is October 1 (note that this has been extended from the original deadline of September 18), and the anthology will be published in 2023 by Empty Bowl Press. For the complete guidelines, click below.


The Washington State Poet Laureate program is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA/The Washington State Arts Commission. Additional support for this anthology comes from the Academy of American Poets.

Humanities Washington

Get the latest news and event information from Humanities Washington, including updates on Think & Drink and Speakers Bureau events.