Lt. Governor Welcomes Washington’s Poet Laureate in Honor of National Poetry Month

On Thursday, in honor of National Poetry Month, the Lt. Gov. Habib welcomed Dr. Tod Marshall, the state’s poet laureate, to the Senate Chambers, recognizing the contributions of the state’s poets and the launch of WA129, an anthology by 129 of the state’s poets, spearheaded by Marshall.

WA129 showcases the diverse talents of the state’s poets—one for each year of Washington’s statehood.

“In my travels, people often ask if poetry is of any use, and I respond that it is absolutely of no use, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t add value,” said Marshall, an English professor at Gonzaga University. “I believe in the value of poetry, and I believe it is important that we as a society give value to poetry. But not just poetry to all the arts, but to the humanities, to the many ways that allow us to understand what it is to be human, and give us a glimpse into cultures and views that are different from our own.”

Marshall was named Washington’s poet laureate for 2016-2018 by Gov. Jay Inslee. Inslee also declared April as Poetry Month in Washington state last year.

“I believe poetry is unique among literary forms because of its special ability to be both influential and intimate,” said Habib in a statement, commending Marshall for his work in organizing WA129. “A great poem can shift a long-held belief or perspective in an instant, it can conjure words to help us understand the plight of our neighbors, and it can cut through artificial differences and reveal our core commonalities, even in the most tumultuous of times.”