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Elizabeth Woody Named Eighth Poet Laureate of Oregon

Woody will take over April 27 from outgoing laureate Peter Sears.

Elizabeth Woody has been named Oregon's new poet laureate by Gov. Kate Brown—the eighth to hold the post since 1921. Woody's two-year term begins April 27, and a ceremony is still being planned that will honor both her and current laureate Peter Sears, who took on the post in 2014.

Woody, who splits time between Warm Springs and Portland, was born on the Navajo Nation reservation in Ganado, Ariz., but has lived in Oregon most of her life. She has published three works of collected poetry, Hand in Stone (which received an American Book Award in 1990), Luminaries of the Humble and Seven Hands, Seven Hearts.

Poet laureates are selected by a 20-member committee of people involved in the local literary community, and are appointed by the governor. During their term, laureates act as ambassadors for poetry—Woody will hold between six and 20 public readings all over Oregon.

Past laureates include William Stafford (1974-1989) and Paulann Peterson (2010-2014). Starting with Sears in 2014, the term for poet laureates was set at a single two-year-term.

You can watch Elizabeth Woody read from her poetry here:

The poet Kim Stafford—son of former laureate William Stafford—has also made a film in honor of Elizabeth Woody, shown here.