Classroom Visit From a Poet Laureate

Kathleen Flenniken

Poetry Comes Alive in Anacortes Classrooms

“This dance turns your eyes into rivers and tears into streams.”

“This booth is still full of wood scraps given new life through a carver’s hand.”

“The color of the ocean is like my dad’s eyes…like a shooting star in a bright sky.”

~ Lines from a list poem demonstrating use of figurative language by
Anacortes Middle School students

Story by Sherry Chavers

Kathleen Flenniken, Washington State Poet Laureate, swept into Anacortes on Nov. 13 and 14, with barely enough time to catch her breath before inviting, challenging, and inspiring students in Anacortes classrooms to nurture the poet within.

Flenniken arrived under the auspices of the Anacortes Arts Festival, a partner of the Skagit River Poetry Foundation, and Anacortes arts promoter Peggy Flynn. Students and teachers alike received her the poet’s visit enthusiastically and appreciated the opportunity to play with language in new and different ways.

“Kathleen came into my room with energy and joy,” said Becky Motherwell, Anacortes Middle School bloc teacher. “Both days were a great mix of the serious and the silly, which helped to engage my students. The poems she selected as models had the same qualities.”

Terri Sommers, an elementary teacher at Fidalgo School, echoed those words and added some of her own.

Kathleen Flenniken, Peggy Flynn, and Bob Rose

Kathleen Flenniken, Peggy Flynn, and Bob Rose

“The second graders knew they were in for something special when Kathleen Flenniken entered the room. Her soothing, gentle voice calmed and drew the children into the place where they could create t