Washington's new state Poet Laureate, Tod Marshall, is making good on his promise to spearhead the publication of an anthology of poems. The collection will be called Washington 129, in honor of the state's age at the time of the book's anticipated publication date. Submissions are open to all people. The youth! The established writer! The not-so-established writer! The page poet! The stage poet! The writer of sonnet crowns and the writer of crayon sonnets!
The submissions form says that poems of all kinds will be considered, but poems that somehow deal with Washington landscape or culture or people will be given some priority.
I asked Marshall what that really means, and he said: "I especially like poems that begin, 'O noble Washington, thou Georgic State/ Of Douglas Fir and tall mountainous Peaks,/ and etc.,'" before adding, "But really: from Shawn Kemp to Kitsap County, from the Kingdome to the meth-head BMXers in Spokane, from Chief Seattle to Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, from salmon to Benny and June (filmed in my neighborhood), from Twisp to Ione to Pomeroy to Pasayten to Forks to Vancouver: It’s all Washington, and it’s all fair game for the poems.
For reasons having to do with with lilacs breeding out of the dead land, the mix of memory and desire, and dull roots stirred by spring rain, April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate the seemingly endless cycle of pain and pleasure the year so beautifully embodies in its passing seasons, Marshall will be traveling around the state giving readings, workshops, and lectures about cool poem stuff. If you want to bribe him in order to get into the anthology, you'll have two chances to do that soon.
If you insist on doing things the old fashioned and moral way, here's the brass tacks for submission from the press materials:
Previously published poems will not be considered. Please submit no more than three poems as a single Microsoft Word attachment or as the body of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If preferred, submit via post to:
SUBMISSION c/o Tod Marshall
English Department, Gonzaga University
502 E. Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258
Be sure to include your name, an email address, and a phone number with your submission.
I, for one, will be submitting my poem about the falling in love at the Washington State caucuses. I only have a few lines going right now, but I know the first few lines will be:
Our hearts turned into maracas
at the Washington State caucus.
The precinct captain tried,
but no one could stop us...
And it will end with something like:
You and I riding away from the caucuses
on the backs of sleepy diplodocuses.
Good luck, all!
Submissions close in 2017. So you have some time.