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WATCH: Washington State's Poet Laureate Responds To Condo Development

Tod Marshall is Washington state's new poet laureate.
Courtesy of Amy Sinisterra Photography
Tod Marshall is Washington state's new poet laureate.

Tod Marshall grew up in the Midwest, but Eastern Washington’s high desert is the place that inspires his poetry.

Marshall, the newly appointed Washington state poet laureate, teaches at Gonzaga University in Spokane. He’s an avid outdoorsman, and he spends much of his free time exploring the nearby vast open spaces.

“There’s something about those really sharp basalt mesas and cliffs that speaks to me.”

It’s not just the geology; Marshall is fascinated by the rhythms of the natural world, from flora to the human life cycle.

“You get glimpses of those dynamics out in that harsh region,” he explains. “You see, early on in the spring, the little blossoms popping out. And then you’ll stumble upon the skeleton of a deer!”

But when KUOW asked Marshall to bring in a short poem for National Poetry Month, he chose one that was prompted by a condo development near his house.