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February 9, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Seattle woman named state's poet laureate

 

Kathleen Flenniken (COURTESY HUMANITIES WASHINGTON)

Kathleen Flenniken, a published poet who was trained as an engineer, has been named Washington state poet laureate for 2012-2014.

“This is a dream job — speaking in support of the arts and humanities, and of poetry in particular, getting a chance to organize poetry events around the state, visit schools, reach kids and teachers and remote communities,” she said as quoted in a news release from Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission.

Flenniken will recieve a $10,000 per year stipend paid by the National Endowment for the Arts.

A Richland native, she lives in Seattle and is president of the nonprofit Floating Bridge Press, which teaches poetry and publishes Washington poets.

Her first collection,  “Famous” (University of Nebraska Press, 2006), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, and was a finalist for the Washington state book award. She also wrote “Plume” (University of Washington Press, 2012), poems about the Hanford nuclear site.

Flenniken has two engineering degrees, from Washington State University and the University of Washington, and a masters in fine arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University.

The state poet laureate position was created by the Legislature in 2007. The first poet laureate was Samuel Green. After his two-year term, the program was put on hiatus because of budget constraints. Last year  Gov. Chris Gregoire agreed to resume the program as long as no state funds were used.

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