Celebrating Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate

2 Apr

In recognition of National Poetry Month, The Solipsistic Me would like to honor and celebrate Paulann Petersen, Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate.

Born in Portland in 1942, Petersen has lived in Oregon her entire life (other than her undergraduate years at Pomona College in Claremont, CA). Her poetry was originally inspired by the high plateaus around Klamath Falls, where she lived for years. Her first published poem appeared in the Sunday Oregonian in 1975. After years of teaching, she took on poetry full time. She now lives in southeast Portland.

Petersen’s poetry covers a wide range of subjects, often with a uniquely Oregon point of view. She frequently celebrates Oregon’s landscape, beauty, and structures. She has won numerous awards, including the Stewart Holbrook Award for Outstanding Contributions to Oregon’s Literary Life in 2006.

Paulann is also a wonderful, charming human being. Her background as a teacher and love of sharing poetry make her the perfect ambassador for Oregon poetry. As a member of the board of Friends of William Stafford, she also continues his tradition of using poetry for social action.  For more information, visit her website.

Most of Petersen’s works are available from libraries all over the country. They are also included in the Oregon Poetry Collection, a joint project of the Oregon Center for the Book and the Oregon State Poetry Association, at the Oregon State Library.

Paulann Petersen also does many public readings. She will be reading and speaking about poetry as part of the State Library’s spring lecture series on April 13.


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