Let the river run … with poetry. Washington’s poet laureate, Claudia Castro Luna, has been named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, one of 13 state or local poets laureate nationwide to be so honored in a program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and intended to promote civic programs about the role that poetry plays in people’s lives. Castro Luna, who will receive a $100,000 award, intends to launch a series of poetry writing workshops and readings celebrating the Columbia River. The events will take place along the river’s entire length throughout the state, from its entry into Washington’s northeastern corner to its connection with the Pacific Ocean.

“Claudia Castro Luna is a poet whose work exemplifies how poetry can spark conversation and can help us learn about one another’s lives and unique experiences, which promotes greater understanding,” said Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets. “We’re honored to help underwrite Castro Luna and the other twelve Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellows, all of whom are exceptional leaders.”

Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets has a mission of fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry, and supporting American poets. The organization sponsors programs such as National Poetry Month (April) and the website poets.org. Dates and locations for Luna’s workshops will be announced later.