By NED HAYES
Sady Sparks, a current undergraduate at The Evergreen State College, has been named Olympia’s poet laureate for 2019-2020. Sparks is the second writer to serve in this position after inaugural poet laureate Amy Solomon-Minarchi.
At 24 years old, Sparks is at the perfect age to rise as a poet. Audre Lorde started writing serious poetry at 12, John Keats wrote all his great works before his death at age 25, Percy Shelley peaked by 29 and Sylvia Plath wrote much of her famous books The Colossus and The Bell Jar before the age of 30.
Sparks has been actively mining the field of poetry for the past five years, even before she came to Evergreen. She applied for the position because she was moved to participate in the local poetry scene. “When I read the position description, I started crying,” said Sparks. “It was so perfect for me, and I wanted it so badly. I want to engage all people from all walks of life to partake, because poetry is so much fun.”
The selection committee agreed Sparks was a perfect fit for the role. The city stated her work’s strong sense of inquiry and her dynamic, playful approach to poetry were contributing factors in their selection.
For an undergraduate, Sparks has enormous life experience. Originally from Indiana, she’s lived in Brazil, Colombia, England, France and Panama. Along the way she also resided in Ohio. Now she’s found a poetic home in Olympia. “I love the community of poetry in Olympia,” said Sparks, “and I so enjoyed teaching poetry workshops at Lincoln Options with 5-year-olds.”
Sparks plans a year of active “extroverted poetry,” including public readings and workshops; a typewriter-based, participatory event at Arts Walk and opportunities for people from all walks of life to participate in poetry events. “Olympia has such a strong artistic and queer scene, and that’s really inspirational,” explained Sparks. “My really big goal is to have people who don’t identify as poets to participate – We have this shared context of words, so we can all do this together.”
Poetry Workshop: Asking Love Questions
5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
107 Capitol Way N, Olympia