A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Claudia Castro Luna stands against a bright yellow backdrop, holding her series of poems, which unfolds accordian style, down from the top of her head all the way to the floor.

One River, A Thousand Voices

This year, Claudia Castro Luna—the 2018-2020 Washington State Poet Laureate and Designer in Residence at the School of Visual Concepts—received an exciting fellowship from the Academy of American Poets. Her project? To create community through poetry along the length of the Columbia River.

Over a period of several months, Claudia was inspired to write “One River, a Thousand Voices,” visiting locations along the river where it flows along Washington State. Once she returned to Seattle, she designed and printed a gorgeous book, pictured below, in the School of Visual Concepts’ letterpress studio; in the image, you’ll notice the poem flows along the Columbia riverbank, and the book’s pages fall like a cascade.

Claudia’s goal is to place this artists book in all 67 Library Districts and all 27 tribal libraries in Washington State. If you’re just as excited about Claudia’s project as SAL is, and would like to help support it, we encourage you to find out more about the project, view videos and images, and donate on her Kickstarter page.

According to her Kickstarter page, with this project, Claudia’s goal is “to contribute to the literary legacy of Washington State by writing and producing this lasting object that will live in libraries across Washington to be enjoyed by all.” “One River, a Thousand Voices” celebrates the Columbia River as a natural force, and it honors the resilience of Native peoples who have lived along its banks for millennia. And, as we are faced, critically, with the crisis of global warming, the book also asks us to “consider our personal role as stewards of the natural world.”

Kickstarter backer or not, SVC welcomes you to celebrate Claudia Castro Luna’s accomplishments as their 2018–2019 Designer in Residence on Friday, December 13, 2019, at the School of Visual Concepts! Here’s a brief itinerary for the evening’s festivities:

6:00 pm: Doors open, gallery show and holiday letterpress pop-up shop.
7:00 pm: Claudia will discuss her overlapping work as Washington State Poet Laureate and SVC Designer in Residence, read the entirety of “One River, a Thousand Voices,” and pass the torch to SVC’s 2020-2021 Designer in Residence, Kristen Ramirez.
8:00–9:00 pm:  More celebrating and letterpress pop-up shopping!

We hope to see you there! Congratulations to Claudia and SVC for this tremendously creative project.