Meet our 2022 Festival Poets!
Samar Abulhassan is a Jack Straw Writer and holds an M.F.A. from Colorado State University. She’s worked in California public schools for seven years. Born to Lebanese immigrants and raised with multiple languages, she is a 2006 Hedgebrook alum and the author of six chapbooks, including Farah and Nocturnal Temple. Samar has worked with Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools since 2008 and as a teaching artist for the Skagit River Poetry Foundation since 2010. Samar also participated in the 2018 Skagit River Poetry Festival. In 2016, Samar received a CityArtist grant to aid in completing a novel-in-poems reflecting on memory, longing, and the Arabic alphabet.
Kelli Russell Agodon is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. Her most recent book, Hourglass Museum, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Poetry Prize. Her second book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room was the winner of the Foreword Indies Book of the Year for poetry and also a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. She’s received awards from the Poetry Society of America, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, James Hearst Poetry Prize, Artist Trust, and the Puffin Foundation. She coauthored The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, with poet Martha Silano and is the Co-Director of Poets on the Coast. She is an avid hiker and paddleboarder. Her next collection, Dialogues with Rising Tides, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2021. www.agodon.com / www.twosylviaspress.com
Originally hailing from NYC, Roberto Carlos Ascalon has lived in Seattle for over 22 years. He is a Kundiman, Jack Straw, and Artist Trust fellow, a two-time Seattle Slam Team member, and the winner of the 2013 Rattle Poetry Prize for the poem “The Fire This Time, or, How Come Some Brown Boys Get Blazed Right Before And Other Questions Without Marks”. His teaching artistry has exhibited in museums across Seattle and earned him a trip to the White House where he received the honor of shaking hands with President Obama. He currently teaches with The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas.
Samiya Bashir most recent book of poetry, Field Theories, which won the Oregon Book Award for poetry in 2018, wends its way through quantum mechanics, chicken wings and Newports, love and a shoulder’s chill, melding blackbody theory (idealized perfect absorption, as opposed to the whitebody’s idealized reflection) with real live Black bodies in poems that span lyric, narrative, dramatic, and multi-media experience, engaging their containers while pushing against their constraints. During the six months leading up to the release of Field Theories, Bashir created six short videopoems in collaboration with video artist Roland Dahwen Wu and dancer Keyon Gaskin to remix and reimagine the work through a new medium: sound & image & light. Bashir holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as Poet Laureate, and an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she received two Hopwood Poetry Awards. In October 2017 she was awarded the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature in recognition of individual artistic achievement and excellence to sustain and enhance her creative process. http://samiyabashir.com/
Claudia Castro Luna is an Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate fellow (2019), WA State Poet Laureate (2018 – 2021) and Seattle’s inaugural Civic Poet (2015-2018). Castro Luna’s newest collection of poetry,Cipota Under the Moon, is forthcoming April 2022 from Tia Chucha Press. She is also the author of One River, A Thousand Voices (Chin Music Press), the Pushcart nominated Killing Marías(Two Sylvias Press) also shortlisted for WA State 2018 Book Award in poetry, and the chapbook This City (Floating Bridge Press). Her most recent non-fiction is in There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis (Vintage). Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. Living in English and Spanish, Claudia writes and teaches in Seattle on unceded Duwamish lands where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children.
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Lorna Crozier has been acknowledged for her contributions to Canadian literature, her teaching and her mentoring with five honourary doctorates, most recently from McGill and Simon Fraser Universities. Her books have received numerous national awards, including the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry. The Globe and Mail declared The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things one of its Top 100 Books of the Year, and Amazon chose her memoir as one of the 100 books you should read in your lifetime. A Professor Emerita at the University of Victoria, she has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and has read her poetry, which has been translated into several languages, on every continent except Antarctica. Her book, What the Soul Doesn’t Want, was nominated for the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. In 2018, Lorna Crozier received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. Steven Price called Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats), her latest nonfiction book, “one of the great love stories of our time.” Lorna Crozier lives on Vancouver Island.
Laura Da’ is a poet and teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts. Da’ is Eastern Shawnee. Da’ lives near Seattle with her husband and son. She is the author of the collections Instruments of the True Measure (University of Arizona Press, 2018), winner of the Washington State Book Award, and Tributaries (University of Arizona Press, 2015), winner of the 2016 American Book Award and the chapbook The Tecumseh Motel. Her work has appeared in the anthologies New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf Press, 2018) and Effigies II (Salt Publishing, 2014). http://www.laurada.com/
Michael Daley is a poet and novelist. Born in Boston and a long-time resident and teacher in Skagit Valley, his work is set in the rural Northwest, New England, and Eastern Europe where he’s lived as a Fulbright scholar. “An artisan of the present moment,” as Joseph Stroud called him, his recent books include Reinhabited: New & Selected Poems (Dos Madres, 2022), Telemachus, (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2022), The Madrona Project (Empty Bowl, 2022) and forthcoming, True Heresies (Cervena Barva, 2022) “Some poets are born with an internalized muse…with a will of her own…Daley is one of these hosts” (Boston Small Press Poetry Scene).
Kathleen Flenniken is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Post Romantic (University of Washington Press, 2020), a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Plume (2012), a personal history in poems about the Hanford Nuclear Site, won the Washington State Book Award and was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award. Her first book, Famous (2006), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and was named a notable book by the National Library Association. Kathleen served as Washington State Poet Laureate from 2012-2014.
Matt Gano is a career author and creative writing instructor with over 15 years of classroom experience as an Artist-In-Residence for Seattle Arts and Lectures, Writers in the Schools, and as a traveling Teaching Artist for the Skagit River Poetry Foundation. Matt is author of Suits for the Swarm, (MoonPath Press), co-founder of the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Program, and former director of Fremont Abbey Arts Center’s NEXT STAGE program.
Gano’s most current work as a recording artist can be found on all streaming platforms under the moniker, ENTENDRES
Matt represented Seattle at the National Poetry Slam multiple years, is a former Seattle Grand-Slam champion. He is the author of 6 chapbooks.
Jessica Gigot is a poet, farmer, and writing coach. Her second book of poems, Feeding Hour, was a finalist for the 2021 Washington State Book Award. Jessica’s writing and reviews appear in several publications such as The New York Times, Orion, Terrain.org, Ecotone, and Poetry Northwest. Her memoir, A Little Bit of Land, will be published by Oregon State University Press in 2022.
Edward Harkness is the author of three full-length poetry collections, Saying the Necessary, Beautiful Passing Lives, and most recently, The Law of the Unforeseen (2018, Pleasure Boat Studio press). His poems have most recently appeared in, Valparasio Review, Sisyphus Review, Triggerfish Critical Review, Bracken Magazine, Nine Mile and Under a Warm Green Linden. Harkness’ chapbook, Ice Children, was published by Split Lip Press in 2014. He lives in Shoreline, Washington, about a mile from the house in Seattle where he grew up.
Terrance Hayes One of the most compelling voices in American poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of six books of poetry; American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins (2018), a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry; How to Be Drawn (2015), longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry; Lighthead (2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry; Wind in a Box, winner of a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic, winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and Muscular Music, winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He is also the author of the short story collection To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (2018), which won the 2019 Etheridge Knight Criticism Collection award from The Poetry Foundation. He has been a recipient of many other honors and awards, including a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, two Pushcart selections, eight Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. https://terrancehayes.com/about/
Lorraine Healy is an Argentinean poet who has been published extensively. Nominated for Pushcart prizes in 2004 and twice in 2018, she has a M.F.A from the New England College and a post-MFA from Antioch University LA. She is the first poet to have received a green card solely on the merits of her work. The 2009 winner of the Libby First Book Award, her book The Habit of Buenos Aires was published by Tebot Bach. She has published three chapbooks, The Farthest South by New American Press, The Archipelago by Finishing Line, and The Voices of Abraham by World Enough Press. Her second full-length, Mostly Luck. Odes & Other Poems of Praise, was published by MoonPath in 2018. Lorraine has long lived on Whidbey Island, where she has taught advanced poetry seminars and works as a fine-arts photographer.
Jane Hirshfield, in poems described by The Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters” and by The New York Times as “passionate and radiant,” addresses the urgent immediacies of our time. Ranging from the political, ecological, and scientific to the metaphysical, personal, and passionate, Hirshfield praises the radiance of particularity and reckons the consequence of the daily. Her poems and essays traverse the crises of the biosphere and of social justice. Her work lives in the intersections of facts and imagination, desire and loss, impermanence and beauty— all the dimensions of our shared existence within what one poem calls “the pure democracy of being.” Her poems and essays have been translated into over a dozen languages and her work has been set by numerous composers, including John Adams and Philip Glass.
Liz Howard Her debut collection Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for the 2015 Governor General’s Award for poetry, and was named a Globe and Mail top 100 book. Her recent work has appeared in Canadian Art, Poetry Magazine, and Best Canadian Poetry 2018. Howard received an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She served as the 2018-2019 Distinguished Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary. She is of mixed settler and Anishinaabe descent. Born and raised on Treaty 9 territory in northern Ontario, she is currently lives in Toronto.
Holly J. Hughes is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Hold Fast, Passings, and Sailing by Ravens, coauthor of The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, and editor of several anthologies, including Keep a Green Bough: Voices from the Heart of Cascadia, the second volume in The Madrona Project series. Her fine art chapbook Passings received an American Book Award in 2017 and her poems and essays have been nominated for Pushcart prizes, set to music and performed in New York City and Sitka, Alaska. She served on the