Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Muse: Washington's State Poet Laureate

The State Poet Laureate program has been suspended and, currently, the position is vacant.

Samuel Green was Washington's State Poet Laureate. He was named to the position in December 2007 and served two years. 


Established by law in 2007 (SHB, Chapter 128) to promote awareness and appreciation of poetry, the position is administered through the state arts commission, which is tasked with appointing and coordinating a selection committee that together set the criteria for nomination. The appointee must be a published poet, a resident of Washington State, active in the poetry community, and "be willing and able" to promote poetry throughout the two-year term. The committee forwards its recommendation to the commission, which appoints the State Poet Laureate with the governor's approval. An appointee may not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Compensation of the incumbent is "at a level determined by the commission", which also provides for travel expenses. The commission is permitted to fund the Poet Laureate program through gifts, grants, and public or private endowments that must be deposited in a fund specifically for that purpose. (On enactment, the law provided for a start-up appropriation of $30,000 "or as much as may be necessary" solely for the fund.)

December, 2009, minutes of the state arts commission indicated that the governor suspended the Poet Laureate program because of budget cuts.

A 2010 article about local poets laureate is here.

* * * * *

Profile of Samuel Green (Here you'll find a list of interviews and articles, as well as one of Green's poems. Additional links are available at the arts commission's Poet Laureate page, reference below.)

Samuel Green, The Grace of Necessity (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2008) Among Green's other more than half-dozen books: Vertebrae: Poems 1972-1994 (Eastern Washington University Press, 2008).

Samuel Green Poems Online: "Night Dive" at American Life in Poetry (also at; "If You Had To", "Home Town Park", "Breaking Ground", "What the Culinary Arts Teacher Knows About Grace", "Calling the Old Dog In", and "Grubs", All at Poet Laureate - Poems; "Grandmother, Cleaning Rabbits" At NEA Writers' Corner

Humanities Washington

Washington Poets Association (A profile and an interview with Samuel Green are here.)

Washington State Arts Commission

Washington State Arts Commission Poet Laureate Program

Washington State Poet Laureate Website (The site provides information about Samuel Green.)

Washington State Book Award


Ruth said...

Congratulations on your poetry book, Maureen!

Louise Gallagher said...

I think it's sad they suspended the program -- for $30,000?

Very sad and a statement of something deeply distressing in our society when 'the arts' are considered non-essential.

S. Etole said...

we lose so much when we lose the arts ...

Diane Walker said...

Part of me is giggling at this, Maureen -- I can never quite figure out if all this stuff about Washington arts is directed at me (since, of course, it's all about me!)

But yes, budget problems in both my state and my community are extreme, and the arts have been demolished in both places. We're hoping individual funding will step up to fuel the empty holes, but so far we're not seeing it. It is, indeed, very sad; makes me miss the depression when they specifically created jobs for artists...

Anonymous said...

washington poets
then need to
get there little butts out there
and share
out of their own volition.