PORT ANGELES — Jaiden Dokken has been named the first Clallam County poet laureate.
The North Olympic Library System (NOLS), in partnership with Clallam County, has scheduled an inauguration at 6 p.m. April 18 n the Port Angeles Library, 2210 South Peabody St.
Dokken, who uses the pronouns they/them, will read a selection of poems after opening remarks by Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias and NOLS librarian Clair Dunlap. The event also will be livestreamed on Zoom.
Dokken is a local writer, printmaker, ceramicist, cidermaker and self-described highly persistent penpal.
Dokken’s work has been published in “Fiction International,” “Algorithm,” “Muses and Vices,” “SpeakEasy,” “Superfroot Magazine” and “Pile Press.” Dokken is an editor and reader for Perennial Press.
Experiences unique to the North Olympic Peninsula resonate in poems by Dokken, who grew up in Sequim and returned to live there as an adult.
As Poet Laureate, Dokken will bring poetry to residents across Clallam County by participating in events, leading workshops, and championing the community power of the written and spoken word.
“This is the place I learned how to read and write, and where I found my voice through poetry,” Dokken said.
A major goal of the Clallam County Poet Laureate program is to use poetry to bring a variety of voices and perspectives to culturally diverse audiences throughout the county, and to bring communities together through poetry.
“I’m most eager to draw in the people who are absolutely convinced they do not like poetry,” Dokken said. “I know many folks that haven’t ever been exposed to a branch of poetry that resonates with them.
“But just like other art forms such as painting, pottery, or playing the guitar, poetry is not bound by a singular style. So if sonnets aren’t your thing, no worries! And for those of you who are already in love or at least in-like with poetry, I truly look forward to growing this community together.”
A committee of community arts leaders, practitioners, and enthusiasts from across the county selected Dokken from a pool of poets who submitted applications last fall.
The inaugural position is a two-year term from April 2023 through March 2025, and comes with an annual stipend of $5,000 funded by Clallam County in recognition of the appointed poet’s time and energy in participating in or hosting events, and to support the poet’s craft and practice.
For more information about this program, visit nols.org/poet, email PoetLaureate@nols.org, or call 360-417-8500.