2023-2025 Washington State Poet Laureate Arianne True.

Washington State Poet Laureate

Connecting Washington to the power of poetry

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.


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Queer Poetry Anthology

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.

Interested in hosting Arianne True for a reading, workshop, or other event?

📅 Upcoming Events

Workshop: Neurodivergence and Poetry: a FREE all-levels community workshop
Neurodivergent folks (and support people they’d like to bring) are invited to a workshop with Washington State Poet Laureate Arianne True on exploring how our neurodivergence can make for very cool poems. Self-diagnosed and formally diagnosed equally welcome! No writing experience needed. (Neurodivergence includes autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, dyslexia, and so much more.)

📆Monday, April 15, 2024 | 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
🌐Zoom – Register here

📆Saturday, April 27, 2024 | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
🌎Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library | 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma

📆Monday, April 29, 2024 | 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
🌎Port Orchard Library | 87 Sidney Ave, Port Orchard

Reading in Western Washington University Wilson Library
Arianne True will read her poetry as part of a WWU Distinguished Speaker event in association with the Libraries Archives and Special Collections and several campus departments.

📆 Thursday, May 16, 2024 | 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
🌎 WWU Wilson Library | Wilson Library, MS 9103, Bellingham
Learn more

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.

Rena Priest

2021-2023

Learn more about Rena Priest.

Claudia Castro Luna

2018-2021

Learn more about Claudia Castro Luna.

Tod Marshall

2016-2018

Learn more about Tod Marshall.

Elizabeth Austen

2014-2016

Learn more about Elizabeth Austen.

Kathleen Flenniken

2012-2014

Learn more about Kathleen Flenniken.

Samuel Green

2007-2009

Learn more about Samuel Green.

Questions?

Linnea Ingalls, Grants to Organizations (GTO) Program Coordinator and ArtsWA lead for the Washington State Poet Laureate program.

Phone: 360-252-9969

Email: linnea.ingalls@arts.wa.gov

Additional support for the Poet Laureate program comes from Amazon Literary Partnership Poetry Fund and the Academy of American Poets.