La Conner, WA.


Each year the Museum of Northwest Art (MoNA) is thrilled to host two poetry groups in the museum’s galleries. Poets on the Coast and Viking Launch students from Western Washington University visited the museum this past September and experienced the work on display. While the mission and participants of each group varied greatly, they share the belief that works of visual art can inspire further creativity as expressed through the written word.


Poets On the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women, directed by Susan Rich and Kelli Russell Agodon, takes place annually in La Conner and invites participating poets to explore the current museum exhibits as inspiration for new composition. The retreat welcomes poets with a range of experience and the program sees everyone from beginners to published writers partake each year. This year poets engaged with sculpture and painting from regional legend Clayton James, contemporary works by Whiting Tennis and environmentally-conscious glasswork by Kelly O’Dell.


Poetry created during the retreat can be enjoyed online

The second group of poets to join us this Fall consisted of Viking Launch students of Dr. Nancy Pagh's Creative Writing by Design class at Western Washington University. As Pagh notes, the course examines what it is like to explore, imagine, and create in the literary arts as well as learn foundational elements of creative and technical forms of expression. Students visit Western Washington’s outdoor sculpture collection in addition to taking a field trip to La Conner and the Museum of Northwest Art. Students are expected to format their poems with a visual aid in a broadside format.


Examples of the pieces created can be viewed on the MoNA website at:


Museum of Northwest Art


The Museum of Northwest Art connects people with the art, diverse cultures and environments of the Northwest. 



MoNA collects and exhibits contemporary art from across the Northwest, including Alaska, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.