Washington State Poet Laureate Highlights Diversity at EWHS
By Stephanie Farmer
On Friday, October fifth, Washington State’s Poet Laureate came to Edmonds Woodway to educate students, tell her story, and preach the power of poetry to young minds. Claudia Castro Luna is the sixth poet laureate of Washington State, and its first poet laureate of color.
Born and raised in El Salvador, Luna was traumatized by its brutal civil war. Her family escaped to the United States when she was 14 years old. She went on to receive a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA, followed by degrees in teaching and poetry. Ava Wilson says “It’s inspiring that she’s come from such a difficult childhood, but hasn’t let that trauma stop her from doing what she loves and excelling at it.”
As Washington State Poet Laureate, Luna’s role is to spread knowledge, awareness and appreciation for poetry and its power. She travels the state, reads her poems, and gives thoughtful presentations—including one to Edmonds-Woodway students. Her presentation opened with an introduction from our librarian, Ms. Rautenberg, which Luna followed by telling her story. She read some of her poetry, providing context along the way. Each poem resonated with the Hispanic students present, as well as the students who enjoy writing. Edmonds Woodway senior –Alyssa Hershey– said, “as a Spanish student, hearing bilingual poetry war really powerful… it brought attention to the diversity within our school.” She and many other students were personally inspired by Luna’s words.
Claudia Castro Luna enthusiastically told her story to the young minds at Edmonds Woodway. She sets an example for people looking to find passion in darkness. Thanks to her work, some students were inspired to start a Poetry Club (which meets on Tuesdays in the library during advisory) at EW. Her effect will be one that lives on through the inspired students of Edmonds Woodway.