The Washington State Poet Laureate builds awareness and appreciation of poetry — including the state’s legacy of poetry — through public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations in communities throughout the state. The position was created in April 2007, when the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that recognized the value of poetry to the culture and heritage of the state. The poet laureate is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA, with the support of Gov. Jay Inslee.
The current laureate is Tod Marshall, Washington State Book Award-winning author of three poetry collections: Dare Say (2002), The Tangled Line (2009), and Bugle (2014). He currently lives in Spokane, where he is a professor of English at Gonzaga University. He succeeds previous poets laureate Elizabeth Austen (2014–2016), Kathleen Flenniken (2012–2014), and Sam Green (2007–2009). As part of his term, Marshall is calling for submissions for Washington 129, an anthology of poems from the people of Washington State featuring work from established poets as well as those just starting out.