Topic: Rena Priest, Washington State Poet Laureate 2021-22
Poems: “Toward a Beautiful Flare of Ruin” and “The Perils of Flight”
Recorded: May 23, 2021
In our discussions, we admire, among many strengths, how thoughtfully Rena’s poems are structured and crafted. The poems in her first book focus on the culture of toxic masculinity she encountered in New York, and the poems in her second reflect her rediscovery of herself in poetry.
Priest was chosen as state poet laureate, says ArtsWA Director, Karen Haman, “for the compelling nature of her poetry and work. She was also chosen for the depth and breadth of her connections to communities and her capacity to further extend these connections through her role as State Poet Laureate.” Priest adds, “My focus will be on visiting tribes, bringing poetry out into the natural world to celebrate beautiful places in Washington, and writing poems based on ecology and environmental restoration and preservation.”
Rena’s first book of poetry “Patriarchy Blues” won the American Book Award. She is a Lummi tribal member. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and makes her home in Bellingham, Washington.
All poems copyright by Rena Priest.
Please visit her website to learn more: https://www.renapriest.com/
Poetry Club Talks… is produced by Chickadee Productions