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Seattle Civic Poet solicits poetry for a new community project

A pod of orca swim just below the surface of the water, their fins and backs sticking up.

Jourdan Imani Keith invites you to submit pantoums for inclusion in her new project Women & Whales First, Poetry in a Climate of Change, a virtual event in April, 2021, in partnership with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the Seattle Space Needle. 

Poetry submissions due April 11, 2021 


The Seattle Civic Poet, in partnership with the Office of Arts & Culture, seeks poetry in the form of a pantoum from new, emerging, and experienced poets for the Women and Whales First, Poetry in a Climate of Change collection. Up to 14 selected poems will be presented along with the work of the cohort at a public reading and panel discussion in late April. We will be seeking to publish the collection either in print and/or digitally. The application deadline is Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Daylight Time).  

Women & Whales First, Poetry in a Climate of Change is a multi-event project of 2019-21 Civic Poet Jourdan Imani Keith. The project seeks to center the experiences of Black Indigenous Women of Color and explore, through art, the impact of our choices on the environment we all share.

“As Black Indigenous Women of Color in Seattle, we share the urban wilderness of the Salish Sea with the endangered Killer Whales. Our bodies face the same cumulative risks of environmental toxins and the harms of objectification, yet we both survive and are revived by the cumulative benefits of, matrilineal wisdom, tradition and community. Our brilliance and wellness is entwined with the need for healthy and protected social and natural ecosystems.”

Jourdan Imani Keith

Black, Indigenous, Women of Color of all ages are strongly encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Daylight Time). Applicants will be notified as to the status of their application in early April. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a virtual public event in late April.   

Poems must be in the form of a Pantoum and explore the interconnectedness of the health of women, our water, and our whales. For more information on this connection, visit: 

Detailed information about the call is available on Submittable: 

For further information on the Call for Poetry: Women & Whales First, Poetry in a Climate of Change, please visit Urban Wilderness Project’s website here or contact Carol Roscoe at 

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The Women & Whales, Poetry in a Climate of Change is presented in partnership with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Jack Straw, Seattle Public Library Foundation, Seattle City of Literature, and the Seattle Space Needle.  


The City of Seattle’s 2019 -2021 Civic Poet, Jourdan Imani Keith is a storyteller, essayist, playwright, naturalist and activist. A student of Sonia Sanchez, her TEDx Talk, “Your Body of Water,” the theme for King County’s 2016-2018 Poetry on Buses program won an Americans for the Arts award. Her poetry is largely anthologized and was long listed by Danez Smith for Cosmonauts Avenue poetry prize. Keith’s Orion Magazine essays, “Desegregating Wilderness” and ” At Risk” were selected for the 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing Anthology (Houghton Mifflin). She has been awarded fellowships from Hedgebrook, Wildbranch, Santa Fe Science Writing workshop, VONA, and Jack Straw. Her memoir in essays, Tugging at the Web, is forthcoming from University of Washington Press.