Sam Green

Sam Green

In December 2007 Governor Gregoire named Highline College alumni Sam Green Washington State’s first Poet Laureate. He won the position after a competitive search by the Washington State Arts commission. As Poet Laureate, his mission for the next two years is to visit all parts of the state bringing to children, adults, and seniors, the message of poetry and humanity.

Green entered Highline College in the early 70s with hundreds of other recently returned veterans of the Vietnam War. Initially rejected by Western Washington State College (WWSC) because of low high school grades, he came to Highline to complete his Associate of Arts degree. When he left, he entered directly into the honors program at WWSC and went on to earn a BA in English and Philosophy and a MA in Creative Writing.

Green was nominated by Lonny Kaneko, current Highline faculty member and Sam’s former writing instructor at Highline. "Once I was sick for a few days and class was cancelled. We were going to be hopelessly behind in our discussions," remembers Kaneko. "When I returned, I discovered the class had proceeded without me. Sam and a few other class leaders proceeded to carry the class through the back-up of student work. I should have seen then what the future would hold for him."

Green has lived his life on the edges by becoming a full-time poet, living on little known Waldron Island in Puget Sound, working as an independent contractor by teaching poetry to school children and residents of other institutions, running his own press, teaching an occasional quarter or two a year for a university, and quietly promoting poetry to all he meets.

He and his wife Sally (also a former Highline student) created and ran Jawbone Press in the 1970s, and then, after moving to Waldron Island, created Brooding Heron Press. The press has won a number of awards for its designs and publications, and Green has recently been named the recipient of an editorial award from Pacific Lutheran University.

Having now published 10 books of poems, Green is not only a successful poet and publisher, but also a long-time teacher as well. He has been the Seattle University English department's Distinguished Northwest Writer-in-Residence during the first decade of the 21st Century. In addition, he has had regular teaching stints in Ireland for Seattle University and taught in Utah and Wyoming colleges.

"Sam continues to this day, motivated by his passion for the right word, expressing the depths of his feelings and emotions; his passion for other writers' works, the turn of the phrase, putting words in the center of our lives to convey how to see and live each day, each moment, each breath," adds Kaneko.