Numbers are Poetry

498 poets,
1,000 days, 3,000 classrooms, 4,000 hours.
Affecting 400,000 students.
Thatʼs a lot of poetry since 1998.

~ From acceptance speech,
2009 KCTS Golden Apple Awards

Engage. Inspire. Transform

Every year, the Skagit River Poetry Foundation provides contracted professional, published poets to 200 classrooms to serve in five-day residencies. Students in those classrooms, Grade 2 to Grade 12, learn how to read, write, and perform poetry through these master artists. These poets also model instructional strategies and prepare a bank of poetry lessons for teachers. We currently serve seven rural school districts in Skagit, Whatcom, and Island counties in Washington State. Our motto: “Students at the Heart.”


The History

We began in 1998 as the Skagit River Poetry Project, after a conversation between leaders from seven rural school districts in Skagit County, Washington. These leaders hoped to create a project that would support our high literacy standards with the arts. Poetry was a natural vehicle.

From 1998 to the present, more than 50 Skagit, Island, and Whatcom County teachers annually have hosted resident poets. More than 10,000 local students have had the experience of playing with words while reading and writing poetry one-on-one with experts.

The culminating event for this in-class work is the biennial Skagit River Poetry Festival, held every other May. From 2000 to the present, the Foundation Board has invited a multi-cultural combination of Northwest, national and international poets to participate in readings, workshops, and panels for our four-day event in the historic town of La Conner, Washington.