Poets capture magic of island life

Editor Sheryl Clough and Coupeville poet Lois Parker Edstrom display copies of the new book,“Surrounded: Living With Islands,”published by Clough
Editor Sheryl Clough and Coupeville poet Lois Parker Edstrom display copies of the new book,“Surrounded: Living With Islands,”published by Clough's local publishing house, Write Wing Publishing.
— image credit: Betty Freeman photo

“Island life has its own music and imagery,” says Clinton resident Sheryl Clough, editor and publisher of a new poetry anthology, “Surrounded: Living With Islands.”

“I really dig Whidbey Island,” Clough said with a smile. “You can hardly go a mile here without wanting to stop and write a poem.”

Poetry is a special love for Clough, who thoroughly enjoyed the process of collecting and editing the poetry submitted for the book.

She sent out requests for submissions through a variety of writer’s magazines, and poets from all over the country responded.

The anthology was published by Clough in May through her company, Write Wing Publishing. She has worked as a paralegal, naturalist, whitewater river guide, Upward Bound teacher and instructor of composition and literature at Highline College.

She left a law firm job in 2009 to move to Whidbey Island, where she launched her tiny publishing business as an “umbrella” for her writing, editing, research and proofreading services.

“Write Wing is my way of staying independent and able to take on interesting projects,” Clough said. “'Surrounded' is our first book.”

Whidbey Island poets Teresa McIlhenny of Langley, who also writes fiction, and prize-winning poet Lois Parker Edstrom of Coupeville are featured in the book; along with Bellingham poet Sheila Nickerson, former poet laureate of Alaska; and Henry Hughes of Oregon, winner of the first Write Wing Publishing poetry prize.

Lois Parker Edstrom of Coupeville took up poetry after raising her family and retiring as a registered nurse.

She’s lived on Whidbey for 14 years, but said her ties to the Island “go way back to my grandmother, who grew up in a house next to the big rock in Coupeville.”

Edstrom says it was an honor to be in the book.

“It’s a lovely collection, beautifully done. Sheryl was very thoughtful in the way she handled the poets’ work,” Edstrom said.

Edstrom gets her inspiration from observing nature close to home.

“You look at things differently when you’re a poet,” she said. “You get to live life twice, in the moment, and then re-experience it in a poem.”

In her poem, “How Many Fathoms,” Edstrom captures a moment observed from her home on Admiralty Inlet:

Here a red-tailed hawk ignites a flame
of sunlight and herons hunker in the fields.

Copies of “Surrounded: Living With Islands” are available at Anchor Books in Clinton, or order directly through Sheryl Clough at 360-632-5063, for $12 plus $2 shipping. Another outlet is the online eStore,


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates