I sent Governor Gregoire an e-mail tonight telling her about the First Annual Poet Laureate Contest. Here's the e-mail:
"Dear Mrs. Gregoire:
First of all, thank you for governing our fair state. I will say that overall I am pleased with the priorities and direction of the state and am proud to live in Washington, even though my friends in Portland make a big deal about driving “all the way to another state” to see me in Vancouver.
I am also pleased to know that education is such a high priority to you and your administration. I taught American literature once-upon-a-time, so education is important to me.
I noticed recently that Oregon, after a ten-year hiatus, announced Lawson Inada their new poet laureate. This got me to thinking, and I went off to research who the Washington poet laureate might be, only to discover that we are one of ten states that does not have an official state poet.
Knowing how busy you and all the other governors are, I decided it would be fun to put together a poetry contest and invite people to become the unofficial poets laureate of the poet-less states. I guess you could say this is my own way of “Moving Washington Forward!”
You can see the contest rules and so on at this website: http://mikalatos.blogspot.com/2006/10/annual-i-want-to-be-poet-laureate.html
I apologize that I won’t be providing a professional poet with lots of publication history to be poet laureate. I may not, in fact, even be delivering a Washingtonian to be poet laureate. But I figured an amateur poet laureate from another state was better than no poet laureate at all.
I will send you a letter when the contest is over, introducing you to our new, unofficial poet laureate. If you would like to send them a note, an autographed picture or a poem of your own we would be extremely grateful. And don’t worry! I am glad to keep holding the contest once a year until we have an official poet laureate. In the meantime, if there is anything you would like to communicate to the contest participants, I would be happy to pass on your thoughts.
p.s. Please give my regards to the First Gentleman."
Of course you all will be the first to know if she (or, of course, a staff person) writes back. As I surfed the Washington state website, I couldn't help but think that Governor Gregoire and her husband ("The First Mike" they call him on the website) seem like fun people to hang out with. Who knows? Maybe she will want a photo shoot with the new poet laureate and I can tag along for kicks. I tried to put a photo up so you could see the first family, but it didn't work, so you'll have to follow the links. They look fun, don't they? I think they will understand the spirit of our contest. Hey, maybe one of them will enter!