WA Secretary of State Blogs

Perceptiveness through Poetry

From the desk of Anna Nash

Every year I look forward to April because it’s National Poetry Month. It is my favorite time for programming in the Institutional Library Services branches. The talent I see each year is at time overwhelming. It is a labor of love. We arrange workshops, presentations, and open mics and in return we get to listen to and read truly amazing poetry.

I don’t think I can say it any better than I did in when we released our first collection of Percipience: A collection of poems from the Institutional Library Services Poetry Month April 2014. Below is the intro to that collection:

 Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.

― Carl Sandburg

When I hosted my first poetry program two years ago I didn’t realize how powerful poetry could be. Poetry is many things to many people. Some may find comfort in hearing or reading poetry that expresses their feelings. Some may use it as a vehicle to express what might be otherwise inexpressible. It is, above all, expression. Language, verbal and written communication, can be frustratingly limiting. Poets are those who are able to use that frustration. They manipulate language; the words, the cadence, the pronunciation, and spelling to communicate what other can only think or feel.

I chose the title Percipience because it means good understanding of things; perceptiveness. The authors represented in this book have a good understanding of their subject. Hopefully the reader will experience their own understanding and perception of the works presented.

I have seen great talent in the events I have hosted in the institutional libraries. Performances, great performances, by some I have never heard talk before. Others who never stop talking have performed thoughtfully constructed subtle poetry that beautifully articulates love, or pain, or anger or all three. One of the greatest revelations I had was that we are surrounded by poets. Not people who write poetry, poets.

It was a great undertaking to transcribe nearly 150 poems from 11 institutional libraries. It gave me a chance to read and appreciate each one. I hope I have done all the poets around the state justice. Thank you to everyone, patrons and staff, who participated in the first Institutional Library Services Poetry Month. I look forward to seeing and hearing all the poetry our patrons produce in the future.

I want to once again thank the poets and artist from the prisons and state hospitals in Washington who have contributed in past years. Thank you for trusting us with your poetry and art work. I am so incredibly happy to announce that this year’s edition of Percipience will be published AND we will be expanding our collection of artwork from Eastern and Western State Hospitals!

We have copies of our two collections of Percipience the 2014 edition and the 2015/2016 edition in each of our branch libraries and available digitally right here. Print copies of Percipience will be available for purchase for the first time this year as well as a digital copy available for free. Stay tuned for more information on how and when to purchase your copy of Percipience 2017!

Disclaimer –we are unable to profit off of the sales of Percipience 2017. Our goal is to provide a platform to the artist and poets in our branch libraries. Your purchase and/or download of Percipience gives them an audience. Thank you!



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