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Oregon Poet Laureate Visits St. Helens Library

Paulann Petersen will read and discuss her own work, and that of the late William Stafford at a reading for National Poetry Month.
Paulann Petersen will read and discuss her own work, and that of the late William Stafford at a reading for National Poetry Month.
Courtesy of Paulann Petersen

Oregon’s poet laureate will visit the St. Helens Public Library on April 1 as part of National Poetry Month. Paulann Petersen will share her own original poetry and that of William Stafford, one of Oregon’s most famous poets.

Petersen’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. Members of the St. Helens Public Library will be able to check out copies of Stafford’s poetry ahead of Petersen’s visit.

This year is the centennial of Stafford’s birth; he was the state’s Poet Laureate from 1975 until 1990.

A longtime Oregonian, Petersen was born and raised here, spending half of her adult life in Klamath Falls. She was named Poet Laureate in 2010, by Governor Kulongoski and reappointed in 2012 by Governor Kitzhaber.

"Paulann Petersen is the perfect choice to serve as Oregon's poet laureate," said Governor Kulongoski. "Her wonderful poetry and her commitment to sharing her craft with the people of Oregon through her teaching and service exemplify the kind of person that is ideal to serve in this position."

As Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate, Petersen has written six full-length books of poetry, including “Understory” published by Lost Horse Press. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Petersen received the Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts in 2006. She is a member of the board of the Friends of William Stafford, responsible for organizing celebrations of Stafford’s birthday every January.

The poet laureate position is a collaborative project of the state's five statewide cultural partners, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities, and State Historic Preservation Office. The position is funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust and managed by Oregon Humanities. More information on the poet laureate program and history can be found here.

For further information regarding Paulann Petersen’s free appearance, please contact St. Helens Public Library Director Margaret Jeffries at 503-397-4544.