The Washington State Poet Laureate builds awareness and appreciation of poetry through public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations. Laureates perform this work in culturally and geographically diverse communities throughout the state. The Washington State Poet Laureate program is jointly sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and Humanities Washington.
Meet Arianne True, the 2023-25 Washington State Poet Laureate
Arianne True (Choctaw, Chickasaw) is a queer poet and teaching artist from Seattle, and has spent most of her work time working with youth.
She’s received fellowships and residencies from Jack Straw, the Hugo House, Artist Trust, and the Seattle Repertory Theater, and is a proud alum of Hedgebrook and of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She lives in Burien with her cat.
Follow her on Instagram at @wapoetlaureate.
To read her published poems, go to https://www.ariannetrue.com/published-work.
Queer Poetry Anthology
Calling all queer poem writers of Washington State and adjacent tribal lands! As part of Arianne True’s term as the Washington State Poet Laureate, she’s putting together an anthology of poems from queer writers of all stripes across the state. Learn more.
Interested in hosting Arianne True for a reading, workshop, or other event?
📅 Upcoming Events
Town Hall Seattle Writer-in-Residence Sarah Salcedo and Washington State Poet Laureate Arianne True
Thursday, November 30, 2023 | 7:30 – 9 p.m.
Town Hall Seattle | 1119 8th Ave, Seattle
Join us for a conversation between former Town Hall Seattle Writer-in-Residence Sarah Salcedo and Washington State Poet Laureate Arianne True. Together, they will discuss how they negotiate the intersections of neurodivergence, art, and artistic careers. After a discussion, there will be a reading of Arianne’s poems and a section from the in-progress novel that Sarah began during her Town Hall residency in 2022, which has also been funded by 4Culture.
Queer Anthology workshop
On Monday, November 13, 2023, Arianne True led a 75-minute queer writing workshop. Watch the recording below. The workshop handout on Hermit Crab Forms is available at this link.
- The Washington State Legislature passed a bill in 2007 to establish the Washington State Poet Laureate program. The bill recognized the value of poetry to the state’s culture and heritage.
- The Governor appoints the Laureate based on recommendations from a geographically and culturally diverse panel of representatives from Washington’s arts, humanities, and literary communities.
- Once appointed, ArtsWA and Humanities Washington provide funding for the honorarium ($40,000 annually), travel and project expenses, and administrative support for the Laureate.
- The Laureate serves a two-year term. The 2023-2025 Laureate’s term begins May 1, 2023.
Poet Laureate nominations are submitted using an online portal (Submittable).
A geographically and culturally diverse panel of representatives from Washington’s arts, humanities and literary communities score each nomination. The panel identifies finalists (generally up to three) to be interviewed by the panel. These interviews will happen via video conferencing/or in person depending on circumstances at that time. After the interviews, the panel makes a recommendation to Governor Inslee, who appoints at his discretion.
ArtsWA and Humanities Washington staff do not score nominations or make recommendations on candidates during the selection process but do help facilitate the process and answer technical questions.
Claudia Castro Luna
Additional support for the Poet Laureate program comes from Amazon Literary Partnership Poetry Fund and the Academy of American Poets.