MOSCOW Poet Laureate
The Moscow Poet Laureate Program increases awareness of the role that poetry and literature play in the community and creates a record of Moscow’s distinctive character. Not only does the program support the work of excellent poets in the city, but it also invests the public spaces of the city with the beauty of language. Along with offering readings and workshops, the Poet Laureate writes poems for the City that are reflective of local landscapes, social situations, or important events.
The Moscow Poet Laureate Program began in 2015, inspired by the vision of the Moscow Arts Commission and University of Idaho English Professor Alexandra Teague. Since that time, two poets have offered their literary expertise to this City of Moscow program; Tiffany Midge served from 2015-2018, and Susan Hodgin is in the midst of her 2018-2021 term.
Moscow residents who are published poets are eligible to apply for the Poet Laureate position once every three years. To apply for the 2021-2024 Moscow Poet Laureate term, visit https://bit.ly/moscowpoetlaureaterfq.
April Poetry Relay
The Moscow Arts Commission and the University of Idaho presented the April Poetry Relay on Thursday, April 15.
The live-streamed presentation fetured poetry by area poets Ron McFarland, Ed Flathers, D’Wayne Hodgin, and Moscow Poet Laureate Susan Hodgin. The event was hosted by poet and University of Idaho professor, Michael McGriff. The evening also featured music from the Palouse Jazz Project, a faculty sextet at the Lionel Hampton School of Music.
The April Poetry Relay is an annual event that highlights the creative work of Moscow-area literary artists. This year’s event is brought to you by the Moscow Arts Commission, the University of Idaho Department of Theatre Arts, and the University of Idaho Department of English. City of Moscow Arts programming is made possible by support from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
A recording of the evening's reading will be available soon.
Meet the Poets
Susan Hodgin is a southeastern Louisiana native who has made Moscow, Idaho, her home with her husband D’Wayne, and family. Her career in language arts education has spanned more than 35 years, and she began writing poetry as a classroom exercise, the writing teacher writing. She promoted the recitation of poetry through POETRY OUT LOUD, coaching four Idaho state winners to Nationals and two Idaho runners-up. She is a charter member of the Fort Russell Writers, a member of the Palouse Readers, and newcomer to Poetry on the Palouse. She is serving as Moscow’s second poet laureate (2018-2021), which has allowed her to take her work to the community and promote the work of Moscow’s rich diversity of poets; she co-founded with Megan Cherry, Moscow’s Arts Manager, APRIL POETRY RELAY. Her most recent poems were published in 50/50, Poems & Translations by Womxn over 50 by Quills Edge Press.
Edward Flathers is a Moscow native and a doctoral candidate at the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources. He has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and enjoys writing poetry that explores and celebrates both the science and the sacred found in the natural world and in everyday life. He is a charter member of the Fort Russell Writers, a Moscow writing workshop that has grown among its members as a place to practice and improve the craft of writing, whether poetry or prose. He lives in Moscow with his wife, Jamie, who is also a writer and English instructor at Washington State University.
Ron McFarland was named Idaho’s first State Writer-in-Residence, a two-year appointment, in 1984. His twenty or so books include studies of Norman Maclean, David Wagoner, Ernest Hemingway, Rockies memoir, the villanelle, and a biography of Col. Edward J. Steptoe. Pecan Grove published his most recent collection of poems, Subtle Thieves, in 2012. He retired in July 2018 after teaching at the University of Idaho for 47 years and playing soccer there (not very well) for 23 years. He’s an avid and occasionally successful fisherman.
D’Wayne Hodgin is a retired Lecturer of English (U of Idaho 2008) and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University (BS 1976) and of the University of Idaho (MA 1982). He is the Writing Specialist for the College of Business and Economics at U of I and has been writing poetry off and on since seventh grade English ( 1959). D‘Wayne found his direction as an English teacher and lover of literature in 1967 while serving in the First Infantry in Vietnam. He has published short stories and poems in various literary magazines over the last four decades. He and Susan have three children, Erin, Eija, and Blake; six grandchildren; a Newfoundland, Annie Bear; two cats, Lucy and Dodger; two diamond doves; and two finches. Susan and D’Wayne grow a lot of tomatoes and various berry bushes for birds. D’Wayne is best known as “Susan’s husband,” a title he bears proudly.
Current City of Moscow Poet Laureate: Susan Hodgin
Susan Hodgin, a Louisiana native with education degrees
from Southeastern Louisiana University, is a retired Idaho educator with 35-plus years of teaching experience. She enjoys the friendship of her husband and their two Newfoundlands, an uppity housecat, and a small urban flock of hens (most of the time). She spends her other hours feeding and watching songbirds, coaching Poetry Out Loud at Moscow High School, and singing with UI Jazz Choir 1. She became Moscow’s second Poet Laureate this past June and looks forward to serving the Moscow Arts Commission and community through June 2021.
Poetry began for her as a classroom exercise, the writing teacher writing. From there, she found herself reflecting about what she saw in the natural world, a refreshing contrast to her school desk and computer desk at home. Her poetry is often prompted by an observation, a curiosity, finding a voice to tell a story.
Poems written by Susan during her term as Moscow Poet Laureate are featured here:
"Book Chauffeur Visit"
"Tending the Locals at the Moscow Hotel"
"But Officer, We Have No Rooster"
"From Soils, a Living Canvas"
"Downsizing, the American Dream"
"Taking It All in at East City Park"
Previous Poets Laureate
Tiffany Midge (2015-2018)
Poet Tiffany Midge is the author of The Woman Who Married a Bear, winner of the Kenyon Review Earthworks Prize for Indigenous Poetry. Midge's work has appeared in North American Review, The Raven Chronicles, Florida Review, South Dakota Review, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest and the online journals No Tell Motel and Drunken Boat.
Midge earned an MFA from the University of Idaho and is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. She is of Hunkpapa Sioux and German ancestry, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives now.
Poems written by Tiffany during her term as Moscow Poet Laureate are featured here: