Poet laureate visit

Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest to present a reading at WWU


Walla Walla University is hosting Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest from April 18–19. Students are invited to hear Priest give a reading of her work at Chan Shun Pavilion, room 154 on Tuesday, April 19, at 7 p.m., and Priest’s reading at the Walla Walla Public Library on Monday, April 18, at 7 p.m. will be open to the public. She will also give a workshop for Professor Dan Lamberton’s poetics class.


Lamberton, who holds one advanced degree in writing poetry and was on the advisory board that selected the five poet laureates before Priest, said the purpose of a Washington State Poet Laureate is “simply to counteract the whole trend we all have to lose touch with something deeper in ourselves, something more meditative.”


Since beginning her term in April 2021, Priest has focused on celebrating poetry in Washington’s tribal communities and increasing appreciation for nature and the threats that face it. She is the sixth Washington State Poet Laureate and is a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation and the first Indigenous poet to assume the role. 


Priest has taught Comparative Cultural Studies and Contemporary American Issues at Western Washington University and Native American Literature at Northwest Indian College. Priest holds a B.A. in English from Western Washington University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.


Posted on April 14, 2022

Photo from Humanities Washington Blog.