The Washington Poets Association has named Sue Ellen White as the new director of the Burning Word poetry festival.
The festival is produced annually by the association on the last Saturday of April at Whidbey Island’s Greenbank Farm. White will lead the fifth annual festival on April 26 as it becomes the largest such event in the state.
White is a communications professional with a long experience in journalism and editing. She recently served as communications manager at the Hedgebrook writers retreat in Langley.
Eleventh Hour Productions, which produced the Seattle Poetry Festival, announced in September it was closing its organization.
“In the wake of the Seattle Poetry Festival’s demise, Sue Ellen’s expertise is even more critical to the Northwest literary arts community and for those interested in experiencing world-class poetry in this part of the world,” said Paul Nelson, board president of the WPA. The organization is the largest association of poets in Washington.
Burning Word features poets of international stature, regionally respected poets and a venue for new and emerging poets.
The festival also offers free workshops with leading poets, open mic opportunities, music, art and food during the annual event at Greenbank Farm.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help move this dynamic festival to its next level of growth and invite poets and supporters to help establish Burning Word as the premier poetry event in the Pacific Northwest,” White said. “We have a community supportive of the arts, an energetic board in the WPA, a wonderful pool of diverse poetic talent and a magnificent venue.”
White takes over from Burning Word founder and former board president Victory Schouten, who stepped down after four years leading the festival.
“Festival-goers and performers alike have praised Burning Word not only for its high level of excellence, but also for how much fun they had. They loved how warm and generous they found us,” Schouten said.
“As a longtime resident of South Whidbey, Sue Ellen is in a wonderful position to guide it, building a solid base of local volunteers and donors. I am glad Burning Word is in such good hands,” she added.
The festival is seeking volunteers and will be accepting nominations in November for poets to appear at the event.
To learn more about Burning Word go to www.burningword.org. Contact info is firstname.lastname@example.org; 253-266-6184 or 341-2434.