State Poet Laureate Visits Clark

The 2016-2018 Washington State Poet Laureate visited the Clark library for a poetry reading on Wednesday as part of his statewide tour to promote awareness and appreciation of poetry.

“Vancouver is a little like one of the homes we lived in,” Poet Laureate Todd Marshall said at the beginning of his reading. Marshall opened by reading a poem called “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”.

“I try to memorize a new poem every month,” Marshall said. “I just repeat it over and over until it saturates into my brain. Claiming what language you want to take with you is a really important gesture.”

Marshall read some poems by the Bard of Sherman Avenue, Tom Wobker. After, he read poems from his new anthology, “WA 129”.

“It is my belief that the work of the humanities opens us up to lives other than our own,” Marshall said. “When I was 19 and in college, I had a wonderful teacher who turned me onto what words can do.”

The job of the poet laureate is not an easy one, Marshall said. “It’s not a job where you rest on laurels. You work on outreach and awareness.”

Over a dozen community members and students gathered to listen to Marshall read for an hour. Marshall gave out two books at the event, one to an audience member that correctly answered poetry trivia, and one to the first person to ask him a question.

Marshall said he is inspired by what he reads, his everyday experiences and the occasional “gift” of inspiration.

Marshall ended the event by reading a few of his own, untitled, poems.

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