Meet Oregon’s New Poet Laureate

Elizabeth Woody Named Oregon Poet Laureate

Governor Kate Brown has named Elizabeth Woody of Warm Springs and Portland to a two-year appointment as Poet Laureate of Oregon. Woody will be Oregon’s eighth poet laureate since 1921. She succeeds Peter Sears, who has held the post since 2014. Woody will provide at least six and up to twenty public readings per year in settings across the state to educate community, business, and state leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression.

Woody was born on the Navajo Nation reservation in Ganado, Arizona but has made her home in Oregon for most of her life. An enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, she has published poetry, short fiction, and essays, and is also a visual artist. Hand into Stone, her first book of poetry, received a 1990 American Book Award. Her other collections are Luminaries of the Humble and Seven Hands, Seven Hearts.

She was a founding board member of Soapstone, Inc., an organization dedicated to supporting women writers. She also was a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, a national organization headquartered in Vancouver, Washington. She served as a program officer for the Meyer Memorial Trust from 2012 to 2015.

The Oregon Poet Laureate fosters the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses central issues relating to humanities and heritage, and reflects on public life in Oregon. The Poet Laureate program is administered by Oregon Humanities on behalf of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Woody will assume the Poet Laureate role the last week of April. A public ceremony to welcome her and thank Sears will be announced soon. Read more at the Oregon Cultural Trust website.

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