Come Celebrate Oregon's Newest Poet Laureate!
We invite you to join us on Wednesday, May 23rd, at 7 pm for an informal gathering to celebrate the recent appointment of Kim Stafford to the position of Oregon's Poet Laureate! We are especially thrilled to have Kim joining us that night.
The founding director of The Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, Kim was appointed to a two-year term, succeeding Elizabeth Woody. In making the announcement, Governor Kate Brown said "Kim Stafford is one of our state's most generous literary teachers, and I am proud to appoint him as our next Poet Laureate."
Kim, the son of previous Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford, was born and raised in Oregon and lives here now with his wife and children. He holds a PhD in medieval literature from the University of Oregon and has worked as a printer, photographer, oral historian, editor, and visiting writer at a host of colleges and schools and has led writing workshops in Italy, Scotland, and Bhutan. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose and has edited a half a dozen others.
His book Having Everything Right: Essays of Place won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986, and his memoir 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2014.He has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Governor's Arts Award, and the Stewart H. Holbrook Award from Literary Arts for his contributions to Oregon's literary culture. His work has also been featured on National Public Radio.
"Poetry is our native language," said Stafford. "We begin with imaginative experiments as children, and lyric language can be a realm of delight throughout life. For adults and communities, poetry can help us be more open to new ideas, emotionally informed, and buoyant in responding to challenges. In a society of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, poetry builds community."
The position of Oregon Poet Laureate is intended to foster the art of poetry, encourage literacy and learning, and address central issues relating to humanities and heritage. In this role, Kim will provide up to twenty public readings each year in settings across the state to inform community, business, and state leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression. The program is funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust. A twenty-person committee of writers, poets, and cultural leaders reviewed nominations in February and made its recommendation to the Cultural Trust and its statewide partners: Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Historical Society, the Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, and the State Historic Preservation Office. Governor Brown approved the committee's recommendation this week.
Past Oregon Poet Laureates were Edwin Charles Markham (1921-1931), Ben Hur Lampman (1951-1954), Ethel Romig Fuller (1957-1965), William Stafford (1975-1990), Lawson Fusao Inada (2006-2010), Paulann Petersen (2010-2014), Peter Sears (2014-2016), and Elizabeth Woody (2016-2018).