Episode 26: How poetry chose an immigrant, Claudia Castro Luna
Claudia Castro Luna was a teenager when she came to the U.S. with her family fleeing war in El Salvador.
In just two years, her growing English language skills earned Castro Luna the top English student award as she graduated from high school.
“It’s a huge honor to be granted this chance to serve in this capacity at a statewide level,” Castro Luna tells Check It Out! podcast co-hosts Ken Harvey and Cindy Tingley. “I thought long and hard about applying … I decided this historic juncture we’re in, it made sense for me to apply because if selected; I’d be the first immigrant selected.
“(This is) an opportunity to lead by example to both inspire other immigrants … and also as a way of dismantling stereotypes of what immigrants do or can do.”
Castro Luna says she came to poetry relatively late, after her children were born, and started by taking community college poetry classes. “For me, it was always, poetry,” she says. “I say (poetry) chose me.”
Castro Luna also served as Seattle’s Civic Poet and started a drop-in poetry writing program called, “The Poet Is In,” taking place in Seattle’s public libraries. “Libraries are these wonderful civic spaces,” she says. “Libraries are hubs of life.”
Castro Luna will serve a two-year term as poet laureate. She succeeds Tod Marshall. Prior to Marshall, Elizabeth Austen (2014-16), Kathleen Flenniken (2012-14), and Sam Green (2007-9) were in the position.
Media reports on Academy of American Poets fellowship
Episode length: 48:01
Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV.
Cindy Tingley is an instructional developer with Sno-Isle Libraries. Through experience as a radio DJ, a police officer in Key West, Fla., certified technology instructor and Usui Reiki trainer, the common thread is Cindy loves teaching new skills.
The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations.