Tod Marshall, a Spokane poet and professor at Gonzaga University, has been named Washington's state poet laureate by Gov. Jay Inslee.
His two-year term kicks off on Feb. 1 and he is charged with building awareness and appreciation of poetry through appearances around the state, according to a news release from Humanities Washington, which co-sponsors the poet laureate program with the Washington State Arts Commission.
The job requires more than writing skills.
“The Washington State Poet Laureate must be more than a talented writer,” said Karen Hanan, executive director of the Washington State Arts Commission, in the news release. “We’ve been fortunate that all our past poets laureate—and now Tod—have been willing to travel the state meeting communities face-to-face. He or she must be a relentless advocate for the importance of poetry."
This fall, Marshall won the Washington Book Award for poetry for his 2014 collection, "Bugle." Humanities Washington also awarded him the 2015 Humanities Washington Award for Scholarship and Service. He also is the Robert K. and Ann J. Powers Endowed Professor in the Humanities at Gonzaga. His credits include the poetry collections "Dare Say" (2002) and "The Tangled Line" (2009), a finalist for the Washington Book Award. He also published a series of interviews with poets, "Range of the Possible" (2002) and an accompanying anthology "Range of Voices" (2005).
Marshall was born in New York but raised in Wichita, Kansas. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Eastern Washington University and a PhD. from the University at Kansas. He has been teaching at Gonzaga for more than 15 years.
Marshall is the fourth Washington poet laureate and the first who lives in Eastern Washington. He follows current laureate Elizabeth Austen, Kathleen Flenniken, who served from 2012-14, and Sam Green, laureate from 2007-09.
Above: Tod Marshall, photographed by Amy Sinisterra