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Washington state’s poet laureate to read at Oak Harbor Library

Mary Campbell was attending a women’s retreat in the mountains of north central Washington State in February when she heard Kathleen Flenniken read poetry and got an idea.

“I asked her to come and visit us in Oak Harbor, and she agreed,” Campbell said.

Campbell is the managing librarian at Oak Harbor Library. Flenniken will be the library’s special guest Thursday at 3 p.m.

Flenniken, the 2012-14 Washington State Poet Laureate, will read poetry and be able to cross Island County off her list all at the same time.

In an effort to bring poets and poetry to

Flenniken’s goal is to bring poets and poetry to all 39 counties in the state before her two-year appointment as state poet laureate ends in February.

The public is invited to attend.

“I think it’s a really great gift for Oak Harbor,” Campbell said. “I was just writing her a note thanking her for making Oak Harbor one of her stops.”

Flenniken, who was raised in Richland and lives in Seattle, has a unique educational background with engineering degrees from Washington State University and the University of Washington, as well as a Masters in Fine Arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University.

She is president of Floating Bridge Press, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Washington poets, and teaches poetry writing to students of all ages.

Flenniken has published two books and maintains a poet laureate blog, The Far Field. Her first book, Famous, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, and was a finalist for a Washington State Book Award.

Her second collection, Plume, is about the Hanford nuclear site and recently was chosen for the Pacific Northwest Poetry series.

“I just thought she was delightful,” Campbell said of meeting Flenniken. “She’s a wonderful poet. She’s also a wonderful advocate of poets who are alive now and poetry from all eras. She’s very inspiring.”

It is not the first time the state’s poet laureate has come to Oak Harbor Library. Sam Green spoke at the library in recent years, Campbell said.

For more information about Flenniken’s appearance, Oak Harbor Library may be reached at 360-675-5115, or go to sno-isle.org.

Reach Ron Newberry at rnewberry@whidbeynewsgroup.com

 

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