Washington Celebrates New Poet Laureate

Washington State is celebrating National Poetry Month with a brand new poet laureate, opens a new window!

Rena Priest, a Bellingham writer, will begin her term as the state's poet laureate on April 15. Priest, a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, is the first Indigenous poet to be appointed to this position.

Priest's work has appeared in publications such as Pontoon Poetry and Poetry Northwest. Her poetry collection Patriarchy Blues won the American Book Award in 2018.

As poet laureate, Priest said, opens a new window that her focus will be on celebrating poetry within tribal communities and on using poetry to highlight the importance of protecting the earth.

Patriarchy Blues

For more moving and innovative poetry, read these titles from past Washington State poets laureate, opens a new window.

Claudia Castro Luna, poet laureate from 2018-2021.

Killing Marías

Elizabeth Austen, poet laureate from 2014-2016.

Every Dress A Decision

Tod Marshall, poet laureate from 2016-2018.


Kathleen Flenniken, poet laureate from 2012-2014.


Samuel Green, poet laureate from 2007-2009.

The Grace of Necessity