The Far Field, 2012 – 2014

This site is preserved as a record of Washington State poetry and poets from February 2012 – February 2014. The voices collected here include renowned and emerging poets, student poets, poets published for the first time, poets from all corners of the state.  All of these writers were residents of Washington at the time of their publication.

  • Most but not all of the links are functional. If you would like me to update a link, contact me at
  • The Carver/Roethke page includes downloadable poems by both poets.
  • Use the index (by first name) or the search box (above) to find poets and poems.
  • You can search using the following categories:  abuse, aging, Ars Poetica, children’s, cowboy, ekphrastic, elegy, environment, experimental, faith, family, feminism, food, form, hard times,health, history and events, humor, identity, language, love, memory, metaphor, miscarriage, mortality, music, myths and stories, now, peace, persona, philosophy, place, prose, science, seasons, sonnet, spoken word, student, translation, video, villanelle, work

Thanks to Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission for supporting the Washington State Poet Laureate Program.

And many thanks to the 370+ poets of Washington State for contributing their work to The Far Field.

Thank you for visiting.

Kathleen Flenniken



An update on The Far Field:

I will continue to post poets on The Far Field for the next week or two while Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen plans her new website and prepares to launch.  Keep reading! Elizabeth will give us some details soon about what to expect.  And don’t worry, The Far Field isn’t going anywhere. This site will remain online as a resource and a record of poetry in Washington, 2012 – 2014.


Floating Bridge Press is accepting submissions for their annual Poetry Chapbook Award until March 1, 2014.  The competition is open to residents of Washington State only. The winner receives book publication, a $500 Prize, 15 copies of the chapbook, and a Seattle-area reading. In addition to the chapbook, Floating Bridge Press publishes an annual journal, Floating Bridge Review. All individual poems submitted will be considered for publication in Floating Bridge Review, regardless of whether they are previously published.  Read the complete chapbook guidelines here, under “Submissions.”

Jack Straw announces the 2014 Jack Straw Writers, who will work this year with curator Felicia Gonzalez: Laurel Albina, Claudia Castro Luna, Margot Kahn, Loreen Lilyn Lee, Susan Meyers, John Mullen, Michelle Peñaloza, Gigi Rosenberg, Raúl Sánchez, Anastacia Tolbert, Jane Wong, and Kristen Millares Young.  Congratulations to all!

Elizabeth Austen is our new Washington State Poet Laureate!

The Official Word is out!


OLYMPIA —Elizabeth Austen has been appointed the 2014-16 Washington State Poet Laureate, effective Feb. 1. Austen, a Seattle resident, will be the state’s third poet laureate. Her appointment is sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA), with the support of Gov. Jay Inslee.
Austen will give her first reading as poet laureate with the 2012-14 Washington State Poet Laureate, Kathleen Flenniken, at Open Books in Seattle Feb. 16. (See below for details.)

As the poet laureate, Austen will build awareness and appreciation of poetry — including the state’s legacy of poetry — through public readings, workshops, lectures and presentations in communities, schools, colleges, universities and other public settings in geographically diverse areas of the state. Austen succeeds the 2012-2014 Washington State Poet Laureate, Kathleen Flenniken.

“We are thrilled with Elizabeth’s appointment as our next Washington State Poet Laureate. She will be an outstanding ambassador for poetry in our state and inspires a deep appreciation for the art in Washingtonians of all ages,” said ArtsWA Executive Director Kris Tucker.

In this role, Austen will serve a two-year term as the primary spokesperson, supporter and promoter of poetry in Washington. She will receive a stipend of $10,000 per year to help cover the cost of providing poetry programs and activities statewide.

“My aim is always to provide a frame that helps the listener ‘step into’ a poem,” said Austen. “I hope to reach people – even people who think they don’t like poetry – by sharing works that are both vivid and relatable.”

Austen is the author of a collection, Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011), and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet (Toadlily Press, 2010). She produces literary programming for KUOW radio, a Seattle NPR affiliate, and is a communications specialist and educator at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Austen moved to Washington in 1989, at the time a stage actor, avid hiker and occasional writer of poetry. After a transformative trip to the Andes region in her early 30s, Austen focused her efforts on poetry. Her work trends towards the personal, touching on issues such as women’s societal roles, courage and searching for spirituality.

“Elizabeth’s talent and her experience curating the works of local poets will enable her to step immediately into the role of Washington’s poetry ambassador to the general public.” said Julie Ziegler, Humanities Washington’s executive director. “She is a natural teacher, a skilled poet and is committed to sharing the power of poetry.”

What: The Passing of the Laurel: A Reading with Elizabeth Austen & Kathleen Flenniken
When: Feb. 16, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Where: Open Books: A Poem Emporium, 2414 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Cost: Free

On the Web: Humanities Washington’s events calendar [Details] or
Questions? Contact Abby Rhinehart at or (206) 682-1770 x108

The Washington State Poet Laureate program is sponsored by Humanities Washington and ArtsWA and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In April 2007, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that established the Washington State Poet Laureate position and recognized the value of poetry to the culture and heritage of the state. Kathleen Flenniken served as the Washington State Poet Laureate for a two-year term beginning January 2012; Sam Green served as the first Washington State Poet Laureate from 2008-10. More about the activities of the Washington State Poet Laureate can be found on the Humanities Washington website.

Established in 1961, ArtsWA collaborates with artists and arts organizations statewide to conserve, promote and develop artistic resources. For more about ArtsWA, visit

Celebrating its 40th anniversary of serving the state this year, Humanities Washington sparks conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across our state. Through a wide network of partner organizations, Humanities Washington serves more than 500,000 Washingtonians each year with speakers, reading and discussion programs, traveling exhibits, grant support and more. For more about Humanities Washington, including a calendar of upcoming events, visit


And a little personal word:  I am delighted that Elizabeth Austen is taking over this role, which has been the most exciting and gratifying of my working life.  She is so beautifully equipped to take the job in new directions to an ever-growing state-wide audience. Elizabeth is a wonderfully accomplished poet. For years she has demonstrated her gift for building an audience for poets and poetry. It’s only fitting that she should carry on her excellent work in this very visible and official capacity.

Congratulations, Elizabeth! You’re going to be amazing.