Welcome to Poet on the Palouse, a blog dedicated to raising the visibility of poetry and the literary arts through outreach and education, along with providing a space in which to showcase poetry and poetry events in Moscow and on the Palouse. I am Tiffany Midge, and in the spring of 2015, I received the honor of being selected as the City of Moscow’s inaugural Poet Laureate. The best thing I’ve discovered about my post thus so far is how eager people are to support and participate in strengthening Moscow’s literary-scape. It heartens me to know from first-hand experience, just how enthused Muscovites are in regards to the arts in general and in poetry and writing specifically. So many, many thanks are due to the City of Moscow’s Art Department and the Moscow Arts Commission. There are many wonderful and committed members in our community and it’s a joy to work with them.
I’ve often been asked, “What is a Poet Laureate? What does a Poet Laureate do?” A description of the position is as follows:
POET shall perform the following services:
1. Write at least three (3) poems per year that speak in some sense to the distinctive experience of Moscow, Idaho; such works to become the property of the CITY with credit given to Poet, and are to be published in local publications and/or presented at public occasions;
2. Give a minimum of two (2) local readings per year at civic functions, such as the Mayor’s Arts Awards, Artwalk, school and/or library events;
3. Work to raise the visibility of poetry and other literary arts within the community through outreach, education, and other programs; and
4. Provide at least one (1) public poetry workshop per year. Such workshop may be targeted to a particular age of students or adults.
Sounds straightforward enough, right?
Some personal information about me: I moved to Moscow from Bellingham, WA, in 2005, to begin studies in the graduate creative writing program at University of Idaho. Since I graduated I have taught composition and humanities for Northwest Indian College in Lapwai and Tulalip and online. I have visited Kenyon College, the University of South Dakota, and The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and taught youth creative writing as part of the Na’ah Illahee Fund. In 2013 I won The Kenyon Review Earthworks Prize for Indigenous Poetry for “The Woman Who Married a Bear,” due out in March 2016 from the University of New Mexico Press. My other books are “Outlaws, Renegades and Saints: Diary of Mixed-up Halfbreed,” (Greenfield Review Press, winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial Poetry Prize), the chapbook “Guiding the Stars to their Campfire, Driving the Salmon to their Beds (Gazoobi Tales), and the children’s picture book “Animal Legend and Lore: Buffalo” (Scholastic Inc.). I’ve published creative nonfiction in The Butter, and Sovereign Bodies, and two of my essays have received Pushcart Prize nominations from The Raven Chronicles and Yellow Medicine Review. Currently, I am writing the Great American (Indian) Novel about contemporary, urban Native life called “Sex, Lies, and Frybread: A Dramedy.”My favorite poets are Joy Harjo, Lois Red Elk, Robert Wrigley, Denise Duhamel, and about a thousand others.
My good friend, the author Anesa Miller, was good enough to interview me and she did a great job so I hope you’ll check it out here.
Thank you for reading, and check back soon for more information, updates, and of course, poetry!
Poetry is the spontaneous overflow
of powerful feelings: it takes its origin
from emotion recollected in tranquility.
~ William Wordsworth