2023-2025 Washington State Poet Laureate Arianne True.

Washington State Poet Laureate

Connecting Washington to the power of poetry

The Washington State Poet Laureate builds awareness and appreciation of poetry through public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations. Laureates perform this work in culturally and geographically diverse communities throughout the state. The Washington State Poet Laureate program is jointly sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and Humanities Washington.

Meet Arianne True, the 2023-25 Washington State Poet Laureate

Arianne True (Choctaw, Chickasaw) is a queer poet and teaching artist from Seattle, and has spent most of her work time working with youth.

She’s received fellowships and residencies from Jack Straw, the Hugo House, Artist Trust, and the Seattle Repertory Theater, and is a proud alum of Hedgebrook and of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She lives in Burien with her cat.

Follow her on Instagram at @wapoetlaureate.

To read her published poems, go to https://www.ariannetrue.com/published-work.


Queer Poetry Anthology

As part of Arianne True’s term as the Washington State Poet Laureate, she’s putting together an anthology of poems from queer writers of all stripes across the state.

Interested in hosting Arianne True for a reading, workshop, or other event?

📅 Upcoming Events

Joy Harjo will be speaking at Town Hall Seattle on February 27.
Arianne True will be hosting the Q&A with Joy Harjo at the end of the event.

📆Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | 7:30 p.m.
🌎The Great Hall | 1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She served three terms as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2019-2022, the first Native American to receive the honor, and she is the winner of Yale’s 2023 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.

This event is presented by Seattle Arts & Lectures. Funding has been provided by Humanities Washington and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the United We Stand Initiative. Tickets for the event start at $10.
Learn more

Reading: A Celebration of Poetry
A free public event honoring Artstra and C-Tran’s ‘Poetry Moves’ poets as well as Clark County and Washington State poets laureate.

📆Sunday, March 10, 2024 | 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
🌎Magenta Theater| 1108 Main Street, Vancouver
Learn more

Reading: Whatcom READS presents the Chuckanut Radio Hour Featuring Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe in conversation with Arianne True!
Join us for an evening of music, comedy, poetry, and a conversation with Sasha LaPointe and Arianne True

📆Thursday, March 14, 2024 | 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
🌎The Hotel Leo Crystal Ballroom | 1224 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham
Learn more

Workshop: Neurodivergence and Poetry: a FREE all-levels community workshop
Neurodivergent folks (and support people they’d like to bring) are invited to a workshop with Washington State Poet Laureate Arianne True on exploring how our neurodivergence can make for very cool poems. Self-diagnosed and formally diagnosed equally welcome! No writing experience needed. (Neurodivergence includes autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, dyslexia, and so much more.)

📆Thursday, April 4, 2024 | 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
🌎Microsoft Auditorium at Seattle Public Library | 1000 4th Ave, Seattle

📆Monday, April 15, 2024 | 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
🌐Zoom – Register here

📆Saturday, April 27, 2024 | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
🌎Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library | 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma

📆Monday, April 29, 2024 | 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
🌎Port Orchard Library | 87 Sidney Ave, Port Orchard

Queer Anthology workshop

On Monday, November 13, 2023, Arianne True led a 75-minute queer writing workshop. Watch the recording below. The workshop handout on Hermit Crab Forms is available at this link.

  • The Washington State Legislature passed a bill in 2007 to establish the Washington State Poet Laureate program. The bill recognized the value of poetry to the state’s culture and heritage.
  • The Governor appoints the Laureate based on recommendations from a geographically and culturally diverse panel of representatives from Washington’s arts, humanities, and literary communities.
  • Once appointed, ArtsWA and Humanities Washington provide funding for the honorarium ($40,000 annually), travel and project expenses, and administrative support for the Laureate.
  • The Laureate serves a two-year term. The 2023-2025 Laureate’s term begins May 1, 2023.

Poet Laureate nominations are submitted using an online portal (Submittable).

A geographically and culturally diverse panel of representatives from Washington’s arts, humanities and literary communities score each nomination. The panel identifies finalists (generally up to three) to be interviewed by the panel. These interviews will happen via video conferencing/or in person depending on circumstances at that time. After the interviews, the panel makes a recommendation to Governor Inslee, who appoints at his discretion.

ArtsWA and Humanities Washington staff do not score nominations or make recommendations on candidates during the selection process but do help facilitate the process and answer technical questions.

Rena Priest


Learn more about Rena Priest.

Claudia Castro Luna


Learn more about Claudia Castro Luna.

Tod Marshall


Learn more about Tod Marshall.

Elizabeth Austen


Learn more about Elizabeth Austen.

Kathleen Flenniken


Learn more about Kathleen Flenniken.

Samuel Green


Learn more about Samuel Green.

Britt Madsen



Britt Madsen, Grants To Organizations (GTO) Program Specialist, and ArtsWA lead for the Washington State Poet Laureate program.

Phone: 360-485-1509

Email: britt.madsen@arts.wa.gov

Additional support for the Poet Laureate program comes from Amazon Literary Partnership Poetry Fund and the Academy of American Poets.