I was thrilled last night when more than 80 folks sat in rapt attention as Washington State's first Poet Laureate, Samuel Green, read in his first truly public reading since his appointment. I say "truly" public as Sam did open the legislative session for both the House and Senate in Olympia for the current session. About half of the poems that Sam read last night were from his latest collection, The Grace of Necessity. The other half were the works of ten deceased poets claimed by Washington State--Theodore Roethke, Raymond Carver, Denise Levertov, Robert Sund, Robert Huff, Arthur Oberg, Richard Blessing, Eve Triem, Nelson Bently and Richard Hugo. It was a marvelous collection of poems and a magical evening.
We've known Sam for most of the years we've been in the book business. He was one of the early readers at Village Books, shortly after we opened in 1980. While Washington is littered with good poets, none is more deserving than Sam. Nor would any I know take more to heart the mission--to build awareness and appreciation of poetry across the state. In appointing Sam in December, Governor Chris Gregoire said, “not only will he encourage people across our state to learn about and appreciate poetry, his appointment to this position will honor the important role that poetry and poets have played in Washington’s creative culture.” I'm pleased and proud that Washington State has a Poet Laureate, I'm pleased and proud that he launched his two-year stint at Village Books and, I'm extremely pleased and proud to count Sam Green as a friend. Sam will appear as a guest for a live taping of the Chuckanut Radio Hour on March 19, at the American Museum of Radio and Electricity. Tickets ($5 each) are available at Village Books.