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Susan Rich

County: King County




Grants for Artist Projects 2007, 2010
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Fellowship Awards 2003
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Susan Rich is the author of three collections of poetry: The Alchemist’s Kitchen, named a finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award; Cures Include Travel; and The Cartographer’s Tongue / Poems of the World, winner of the PEN USA Award for Poetry, all published by White Pine Press. The Strangest of Theaters: Poets Writing Across Borders, an anthology on the influence of travel on American poetics, is co-edited with Jared Hawkley and Brian Turner, and Susan also contributed to Midge Raymond’s Everyday Book Marketing: Promotion Ideas to Fit Your Regularly Scheduled Life. Susan has traveled in Bosnia Herzegovina, South Africa, and the West Bank as a human rights activist and has worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer and a Program Coordinator for Amnesty International.  She now teaches English and film studies at Highline Community College outside Seattle. She is co-founder and director of Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women and serves on the boards of Crab Creek Review, Floating Bridge Press, and Whitt Press. Her awards include fellowships and grants from CityArtists, 4Culture, The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers, and the Fulbright Foundation.

Susan received 2010 GAP Award funding to produce a literary event that explores the relationship between poetry and visual art. The Sister Arts: Poetry and Painting Get Together For the Night will take place at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and will bring together four Washington State poets who will each produce a new poem inspired by a piece in the museum’s Founding Collection. Additionally, each poet will speak on the juxtaposition of poetry and the visual arts, sharing additional work. The commissioned poems will be printed on postcards; on one side the poem—and on the other, the artwork. These four postcards will serve as gifts to the audience. Funds will pay the poets, production costs of postcards, publicity, and for refreshments.

Susan received 2007 GAP Award funding to return to Bosnia, where she worked as an electoral supervisor in 1997, for a month to give a series of readings at the Universities of Mostar and Sarajevo, observe what has happened since she left, and interview residents about their lives since the war. These sources will feed her next poems, guided by the theory that “how we look determines what we see.” By this, she means not how we appear but how we use the lens of life and experience to filter our ideas, beliefs, and identities.

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Image: Peggy Piacenza, 2024 Fellowship Recipient

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