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Seattle poetry brings solace and hope in times of confinement


The city of Seattle, United States of America, is a UNESCO Creative City of Literature since 2017. Its strong identity as a literary city has coalesced around a 10,000-year history of indigenous storytelling traditions. Consistently ranked as ‘America’s Most Well-Read’ city, it is one of the top three literate cities in the country. Seattle’s writing traditions are guided by a sense of place, especially in regards to the willingness of embracing diverse viewpoints and technologies. Many events sustain Seattle’s striving literary ecosystem, including the Short Run Comix and Arts Festival, featuring indie comics and the self-published, as well as the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s Conference, amongst many others.

In response to the spread of Coronavirus, the city of Seattle, in close cooperation with the author Claudia Castro Luna, Seattle’s inaugural Civic Poet, uses its literary potential to counter the growing challenge of confinement and the lack of access to cultural activities. Through the creation of an online forum ‘Poems to lean On’, city dwellers are invited to share a link to a poem accompanied by a two or three lines message explaining how this particular poem resonates with them and how it brings to them comfort and joy.

The initiative aims to revive and recreate social ties amongst the community, while respecting the rules on social distancing implemented to contain the spread of the virus.

The contributions are showcased on the same virtual space “Poems to Lean On” hosted on the Laureate Poet’s website. Submissions can also be made digitally through the same online platform.

The project highlights the enabling role of literature and poetry to connect people and to offer solace and hope during such difficult times. To participate in this meaningful initiative, share your favorite poem or one of your inspiring creations on “Poems to Lean On” to offer fortitude, hope, resilience and humor.

For further information: https://wapoetlaureate.org/poetry-to-lean-on/