WA Secretary of State Blogs

Recent Poetry from Washington State’s Poet Laureate!

Plume: Poems. By Kathleen Flenniken. Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2012. 70 p.

Recommendation by:
Rand Simmons, Acting Washington State Librarian, Tumwater, WA.

Kathleen Flenniken grew up in Richland, Washington during the Cold War. Richland’s neighbor and reason for existence was the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Trained as a civil engineer, Flenniken spent eight years working as an engineer and hydrologist, three of those at Hanford.

The poems in Plume trace Flenniken’s perceptions about Hanford from young girl to professional woman. She writes, “every father I knew disappeared to fuel the bomb.” By the 1980s the effect of exposure to radiation was known. Assurance by officials of safety and security of Hanford workers and people in the surrounding area began to unravel. Flenniken narrates the story of Hanford by telling us about her life and that of her childhood friend, Carolyn. The poems are often haunting.

Carolyn’s father died of radiation-induced illness. Flenniken reveals the betrayal of the American public by government and the suppression of the truth. “As a child of ‘Atomic City,’ Kathleen Flenniken brings to this tragedy the knowing perspective of an insider coupled with the art of a precise, unflinching, gifted poet.”

ISBN-13: 978-0295991535

Kathleen Flenniken is the 2012 Washington State Poet Laureate.

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 811.6 FLENNIK 2012
Available as a Screen Readable Digital Book, and as a Braille edition for readers who are unable to read standard print material.
Not avaialble as an eReader edition


Join Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken, and West Region National Student Poet Miles Hewitt, as they share their talents in an evening of conversation and poetry sponsored by the Washington State Library.
Poet Meets Poet
Columbia Room Legislative Bldg ( Online Visitor’s Guide)
416 Sid Snyder Ave SW
Olympia, WA
November 29, 2012
6:00pm – 7:30pm
Doors at 5:30pm

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