Evergreen Graduate Named Oregon Poet Laureate

March 25, 2016

Olympia, (Wash.) – Oregon Governor Kate Brown has named Evergreen graduate Elizabeth Woody ‘91, of Warm Springs and Portland, to a two-year appointment as Poet Laureate of Oregon. Woody will be Oregon’s eighth poet laureate since 1921.

Born on the Navajo Nation reservation in Ganado, Arizona, Woody has made her home in the Northwest for most of her life. An enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, she has published poetry, short fiction and essays. She is also a visual artist. She holds a BA in Humanities with an emphasis on English from The Evergreen State College.

“The energy of Elizabeth Woody's words bring to life the landscapes, creatures and people who make Oregon special," Brown said. "As Poet Laureate, she will be a great asset to our state, using vivid storytelling to help us understand who we are as a larger community."

“It was a real pleasure to watch the selection committee coalesce around the recommendation of Elizabeth Woody,” said Adam Davis, executive director of Oregon Humanities, who administers the Poet Laureate program on behalf of the Oregon Cultural Trust. “Committee members from all parts of the state pointed to the power of Elizabeth's poetry, the energy and dignity she would bring to the position, and the resonance of her voice,” Davis added. “Her love of this place should find a perfect outlet in the position of Poet Laureate, and the position of Poet Laureate will be honored by having her in the role.”

Woody received the William Stafford Memorial Award for Poetry from the Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Association in 1995 and was a finalist in the poetry category for the Oregon Book Awards for 1994. She is an alumna of the first Kellogg Foundation’s Fellowship through the AIO Ambassadors program, and was selected for the J.T. Stewart Fellowship from Hedgebrook. She has written several books, taught writing workshops and lectured throughout the country.