We All Lived Here

At EWU we are proud of the accomplishments of our alumni, and want to share and promote their work as much as we can. We are also interested in giving prospective students a sense of what living in Spokane while pursuing their MFA might be like. So we are launching this new project called We All Lived Here. On this page we will be publishing work from our alumni that speaks to the idea of home while living in Spokane. We will be collecting these pieces for an anthology to be published by our very own Willow Springs Books in the future. We hope that you enjoy these pieces as much as we do, and that you will check out the archive for more. *If you are an EWU alum who wishes to submit work for this project, please click here for details.

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We will be featuring one piece per month below, and archiving work here.

For our next installment, please enjoy two Spokane poems from Ann Huston!

Since graduating from the MFA program in poetry, Ann has pursued her dream job of being a park ranger. She has worked as seasonal park ranger at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah; Coronado National Memorial in Arizona; Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska; and most recently Chiricahua National Monument in AZ. These parks and other wild, public lands inspire her poetry and she’s managed to get a few publications and lots of rejections! She also has been able to use some of her writing skills to write informative site bulletins on park resources as well as website text for park websites. You can find Ann’s poems in Ascent; Kestrel; Cape Rock; Cimarron Review; Natural Bridge; Poecology; and Flyway.

Here is what Ann had to say about her experience in the program:

“Even though I applied to a handful of MFA programs for creative writing, I never called myself a “poet.” Poetry was something that I did, and I wanted to write better poetry, but I never felt comfortable enough to say “I am a poet.” When I visited EWU, Jonathan Johnson picked me up from the airport and began introducing me to everyone as, “this is Ann, a prospective poet.” His simple introduction changed the way I saw myself, and throughout my time in the MFA program I continued to feel uplifted and supported by the community of professors and students, and I felt validated in who I am. A poet. (among a few other titles I claim).”

 

Spokane Ghazal in Spring, Summer

 

High desert channeled scablands here,

a name too ugly for mast-tall pines and endless moss.

 

Black basalt is algae-d green in snow-melt

and white-capping rocks. No bathing.

 

Few wildflowers here, but more tulips than Holland,

in front of mansions and Spanish villas.

 

The longest concrete bridge when first erected,

now the torch-lit arches span night sky and river both.

 

Wine-glass in hand, I go nowhere but my back garden,

to summer okra, peppers, and basil.

 

*

Spokane Amtrak, 2 am

 

I drive you to the train station

through the glass doors

a woman sits on the stairs

at the ticket counter

in my pajamas and camelhair coat

I ask where your train will be

I offer to wait with you

You say it is already late

Paramedics come

outside a firetruck waits

I kiss your rough cheek

walk past the woman on the stretcher

You are already seated

the doors slide closed behind me

 

Spokane Amtrak, 2 am

 

in my pajamas and camelhair coat

the doors slide closed behind me

Paramedics come

I ask where your train will be

You say it is already late

I drive you to the train station

at the ticket counter

I kiss your rough cheek

I offer to wait with you

a woman sits on the stairs

outside a firetruck waits

You are already seated

I walk past the woman on the stretcher

through the glass doors

 

Spokane Amtrak, 2 am

 

You say is already late

a woman sits on the stairs

Paramedics come

I kiss your rough cheek

the doors slide closed behind me

I drive you to the train station

walk past the woman on the stretcher

I offer to wait with you

in my pajamas and camelhair coat

at the ticket counter

I ask where your train will be

outside a firetruck waits

through the glass doors

You are already seated

 

Spokane Amtrak, 2 am

 

I kiss your rough cheek

You say is already late

Paramedics come

I drive you to the train station

a woman sits on the stairs

at the ticket counter

in my pajamas and camelhair coat

You are already seated

I walk past the woman on the stretcher

I ask where your train will be

the doors slide closed behind me

outside a firetruck waits

through the glass doors

I offer to wait with you