Richland, Wash.–Seattle poet Elizabeth Austen is bringing Washington’s Poetry Roadshow to Washington State University Tri-Cities March 29-30, with a reading Thursday night and a workshop Friday morning.

Each event is free, open to the public, and will take place in the East Building Auditorium on the WSU Tri-Cities campus, 2710 University Drive, Richland.

– Poetry reading, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29. Austen’s reading will be followed by an open microphone — bring your own poems to share.

– “Call and Response: Poems from Poems,” 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 30.
In this interactive workshop, Austen and participants will explore the ways poems call and respond to each other. The session includes reading and discussing lively examples, then playing with ways to let what you read spur you on to your own poems. The workshop is sponsored by the Washington Council for the Humanities and the Washington Poets Association.

Austen produces literary programming for public radio affiliate KUOW-FM in Seattle, is widely published, has taught at colleges and K-12 schools, plus is a sought-after presenter for readings and lectures. She can be found online at www.elizabethausten.org. Her audio CD will be available for purchase Thursday and Friday at the WSU Tri-Cities events.

“What I hope to share with audiences is poetry’s capacity to provoke the imagination, to awaken our sense of empathy and reveal something of the mystery and beauty of our daily lives,” Austen said. “I believe everyone has the capacity to appreciate and enjoy poetry; it’s often just a matter of exposure. And because I’m as much a performer and teacher as I am a writer, it’s important to me to share poetry in a way that’s vivid, immediate and relevant to daily life.”

The Poetry Roadshow’s mission is to bring poetic energy beyond major cities and to encourage the 2007 State Legislature to create an official state Poet Laureate. The mission of a state Poet Laureate would be to develop programs to make poetry more accessible throughout the state, increasing poetic interaction, language arts and literacy.