Washington state has a new poet laureate: Tod Marshall, a professor and writer at Gonzaga University.
Marshall is the first in his family to attend college. He says that experience inspired him to try to use culture – poetry in particular – to build bridges between academia and the wider community.
In 2014, Humanities Washington commissioned Marshall to write a poem. He came up with what he describes as an epic road trip.
It’s called “Three Dreams From the East Side of the Mountains.” Here’s a short excerpt:
"I live, for now, far from the backed-up traffic. But I breathe and I blossom with all of my state. Salmon spawniest, rain rainiest, wide desert dry as a flickering lizard's tongue. Oh, Washington, Washington, when I next sleep I hope to dream of a whole you."
Marshall will be Washington’s fourth poet laureate, serving a two-year term.
He takes the post from Elizabeth Austen, KUOW’s literary producer.