Literary Event of the Week: Passing the Torch at the Seattle Public Library

Here we are at the end of January and 2018 is already shaping up to be a long year. Everything under the sun is either a disaster or a distraction from a disaster. We’re learning the horrible truth behind the legends that the media has printed for decades, and we’re realizing that nobody has any goddamn clue what’s going on.

It’s important, in the middle of all this chaos and drudgery and nightmare news notifications, to celebrate. Find a thing that you love, something that you’re proud of, and shout about it to anyone who’ll listen. Gather with friends and make a big scene. Enjoy what you have and make it matter.

This Wednesday, the last day of January, at 7 pm in the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library, outgoing Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall will celebrate the end of his triumphant two-year tenure. Marshall has been a great force for poetry in this state, advocating tirelessly for Washington poets, even publishing an anthology of local poets titled WA 129.

Tonight, Marshall passes the torch — it’s a metaphorical torch, don’t get too excited — to the state’s incoming Poet Laureate, Claudia Castro Luna. Luna was until recently Seattle’s Civic Poet, which is basically a poet laureate role for the city. Castro Luna and Marshall will be joined by Seattle’s current Civic Poet, Anastacia-Renee, making this evening a veritable who’s who of government-sponsored poetry. (Somewhere, Paul Ryan is undoubtedly clawing at his own eyes and shrieking into the night at the thought of government cash going to poets at all. Fuck that guy.)

Other Washington poets will be onhand, too, to read their own work and to celebrate Marshall’s tenure and to welcome Castro Luna to the new job. Readers include Duane Niatum, Georgia McDade, Phillip Red Eagle, Quenton Baker, Rachel Kessler, Dawn Pichon Barron, Bill Carty, and Shankar Narayan. Look: it’s dark and wet and cold outside. Why not go where it’s warm and people are smart and appreciative and kind? You know, for a change?

Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave., 386-4636,, 7 pm, free.