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Past Poets Laureate

James Rodgers Poet Laureate 2021-2023

Jamed Rodgers

James Rodgers is a prolific poet living in Pacific, WA for more than two decades, and has been in the Pacific Northwest his entire life. While James prefers humor, he writes all kinds of poetry, with a focus on music, humor, kids, travel, and so much more, along with many song lyrics waiting to have music attached to them. James has three self-published chapbooks, and has had poems published by Prism Magazine, Ha!, Poets of the Kent Canterbury Faire, Fly By Night Press, WPA Members Anthology, Wrist, Raven Chronicles, Washington English Journal, and over 30 more. James’ first full book of poetry, They Were Called Records, Kids was released by MoonPath Press in 2018. He was also the winner of the WPA Charles Proctor Award for Humor in 2005, and honorable mention on two other occasions.

James is a member of the Auburn Poetry Group, Striped Water Poets, and is a regular reader at the Rainbow Readings held on the first Monday of each month at the Rainbow Café in Auburn, and has been a featured reader there multiple times. He was also featured at Auburn’s Poets on the Ave event at the Auburn Avenue Theater for April Poetry Month, curated by Marjorie Rommel.

Rodgers is a very talented and respected poet with a long-time commitment to Auburn’s literary arts community. He has a passion for poetry, positive personality, and charisma that the Auburn Arts Commission believes is be perfectly suited for his role as Auburn’s Poet Laureate!

James Rodgers Bio (PDF)

Selected Poems by James Rodgers:

Susan Landgraf Poet Laureate 2018-2020 Susan Landgraf

Susan Landgraf was appointed by the City of Auburn Council as Auburn's Poet Laureate on March 19, 2018. A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed and  invited to compose poems for City occasions and events. Karolyn K. Hughey submitted the nomination for Susan Landgraf as Auburn's 2018-2020 Poet Laureate and shares that "Susan is one of a kind" and is always "bringing out the best in people."

Landgraf is a very talented, respected and well-published poet with a positive personality and charisma that the Arts Commission was honored to have represent Auburn in this honorary role. She is a retired Highline College Professor of over 27 years, and has had her work widely published including over 400 poems and essays in more than 150 journals, including Poet Lore, Nimrod, Rattle, The Laurel Review, Third Coast Review and the Cincinnati Poetry Review. In 2017, she had a full-length poetry manuscript published by Tebot Bach, titled What We Bury Changes the Ground. Awards for her work include: the Lois Cranston Memorial Prize; the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry; Society for Humanistic Anthropology award; and the Academy of American Poets Award. She has also participated in many residencies including: Willapa Bay in April 2018; Centrum, Port Townsend, WA; and the Willard R. Espy writing residency award, Oysterville, WA. Her poetry is insightful and beautiful, exquisitely composed yet relatable.

Susan Landgraf was recently selected as a 2020 Poets Laureate Fellow from the Academy of American Poets! This was an incredible honor, and she will be awarded $50,000 for her proposed civic poetry program in Auburn. Landgraf will partner with the Muckleshoot Tribe and Reservation and the City of Auburn to offer poetry workshops at the Tribal School and in the Auburn Public Schools Tribal Programs, as well as for adults and children at the Tribal Center. The project will culminate in a book of participants’ poems, as well as a series of readings on the Reservation, in the City of Auburn, and at the State Capitol.For more information about the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow Awards.

List of Published Work and Awards (PDF)

Selected Poems by Susan Landgraf:
Auburn (PDF)
Founder (PDF)
Land of Alkali and Chromate (PDF)
What We Bury (PDF)
What's Left (PDF)

Marjorie Rommel (Poet Laureate from 2015-2017)

On January 5, 2015, the City of Auburn Council appointed Marjorie Rommel as Auburn’s new Poet Laureate. A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed and invited to compose poems for City occasions and events. Marjorie Rommel was nominated by Connie Henke, who noted that Rommel has been “writing and publishing poems since she was eight, and writing seriously for more than 50 years.”

Marjorie Rommel is a graduate from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University (2007) with an MFA degree in Creative Writing/Poetry.  She taught at PLU, Highline College, Pierce College and various other venues. Marjorie is one of the three founders of The Northwest Renaissance Poets, a group which presents and provides youth and  senior scholarships to poetry readings, lectures, and workshops and has been dedicated to promoting poetry and writing in the South Puget Sound area since 1965.

List of Published Work and Awards (PDF)

Selected Poems by Marjorie Rommel:

Bear Binge (PDF)
First Sunday in March: Isaac Evans Park (PDF)
Fixing the Footbridge in Dykstra Park (PDF)
Kayak (PDF)
The Dream of Aengus mac Og (PDF)
Think of It (PDF)
Wild Love (PDF)

Richard Brugger (Poet Laureate from 2012-2014)

On January 3, 2012, the City of Auburn Council appointed Auburn's first honorary Poet Laureate, Richard (Dick) Brugger. A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed and is invited to compose poems for City occasions and events. Marjorie Rommel and the Striped Water Poets of Auburn (organization of 36 local poets) submitted the nomination of Dick Brugger as the Poet Laureate, an opportunity "to return poetry, reading, and all the literary arts to greater appreciation in Auburn." The application materials demonstrated Dick Brugger as a "a person of merit who is also an excellent communicator with a command of the craft and the best interests of poetry and the Auburn community at heart."

Dick Dick Brugger, photo by Lela Brugger

A catalyst for good will, Dick Brugger represents the heart of our community in the honorary role of Poet Laureate. His poems are accessible, thought-provoking and often showcase Auburn. He is a published and award-winning poet and has many connections within the community that will help to bring additional awareness and recognition to the literary arts. His dedication to the art of poetry is widely known and respected, and his lifetime of community service is a testament to his concern for the betterment of the City of Auburn.

List of Published Work and Awards (PDF)
Compilation of poems by Dick Brugger (PDF)
Selection of Sample Poetry (All Poems Copyright of Dick Brugger)