APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!
Rena Priest is a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She will be the first Indigenous poet to take on the mantle of Poet Laureate of Washington. We look forward to hearing more from her during her two year reign. Read more about her at Humanities Washington and register to attend the online Passing of the Laurel on April 14th, celebrating Rena Priest’s appointment by Governor Jay Inslee as Washington State’s 6th Poet Laureate.
During Poetry Month, in April 2021, we asked several poets with ties to Whatcom County to talk about their library experience and to read a poem. Their books of poetry are available in the WCLS catalog.
MIGHTY MIKE MCGEE
MORE POETRY RESOURCES
As a WCLS cardholder, you can stream ten videos a month on Kanopy our streaming video service. More than 30,000 independent and documentary films for free with your library card!
The Ferndale Poetry Festival
From 2006 through 2016, the Ferndale Library hosted an annual poetry festival featuring local poets and children reading poems, playing music and creating art. Wendy McLeod, currently Assistant Manager at the Lynden Library organized the event each year.
In 2015, the Ferndale Poetry Festival included a recital of favorite Shel Silverstein poems by Cascadia Elementary second graders. You can find several books of Shel Silverstein’s poems in our catalog here.
In 2013, Kevin Murphy featured at the Ferndale Poetry Festival. That year, the Ferndale Library was temporarily housed at Pioneer Pavilion, in Pioneer Park while the current library was under construction.
In 2006, Ken Warfel (1930-2011) presented along with several other local poets. Ken was known as one of Alaska’s Flying Poets, flying a small plane out of the University of Anchorage to remote secondary schools and introducing students to contemporary poetry. He settled in Bellingham where he spent the last years of his life participating in poetry readings around Whatcom County. You can find his book, A Fine Hotel here.
ROBERT LASHLEY: 2021 WHATCOM READS PERFORMANCE
On Thursday, January 14, 2021, as part of the 2021 Whatcom READS season celebrating the book Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, Bellingham poet, Robert Lashley performed his original poetry at the Harold and Irene Walton Theatre in a presentation that was broadcast via Zoom video conferencing.
Mr. Lashley’s poems speak to themes found in Ms. Edugyan’s novel and his performance was insightful and powerful.
View the entire playlist here or see the playlist on YouTube
ELLA HIGGINSON, POET LAUREATE OF WASHINGTON STATE, 1931
Ella Higginson (1862-1940) moved to New Whatcom (later Bellingham) in 1888, the same year she had her first poem published in the Boston Courier. She helped start the first public reading room and library in Bellingham. She wrote 2 collections of short stories, 6 books of poetry, a novel, a travel book, over 100 short stories, over 400 poems, and many newspaper essays.