Noting that poetry is one of the ways people can share their grief as well as provide words of comfort, Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed April 1-30 as National Poetry Month in the State of Washington and also declared that poetry month be used to send solace to the communities affected by the SR530 slide.
“At a time when so many of our neighbors are recovering from great loss, it seems appropriate that we use this poetry month observance as a way to send our collective support and thoughts to the grieving survivors and affected communities,” Inslee said.
The governor’s proclamation calls on “poets, educators, librarians, public officials and all the people of Washington to observe National Poetry Month in a more meaningful, personal way by using poetry activities, ceremonies and programs as a means to offer comfort and solace to those who are suffering as a result of the Oso mudslide.”
Poems can be submitted to the Tumblr forum, Art with a Heart – Response to Oso, created by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA). Include the title of the poem, author and publisher and tag it #poemsforoso.
"We originally started the Tumblr forum to collect poems, prose, photos and other works in response to the 530 slide tragedy," said Karen Hanan, Executive Director of ArtsWA. “We welcome more poems to the site and support the governor’s call to use National Poetry Month as a platform to send support to the affected mudslide communities.”
One poem already posted to the site is Elizabeth Austen’s A Formal Feeling Comes After Dickenson and Atwood. Austen is the current Washington State Poet Laureate. “My heart goes out to the people of Oso and its surroundings,” she wrote. “I think about the list of the missing and how harrowing the waiting must be for those whose loved ones are named there. I am also thinking of the people searching—for days now—in the rain, mud and devastation.”