Tiffany Midge is Moscow’s official poet.In the midst of a three-year term as the city’s first poet laureate, Midge’s duties include giving public readings at civic functions and writing at least three poems a year that speak to life of Moscow.
“It seems like one of those things where if you’re a writer and a poet and you see an opportunity like that pop up you’re sort of obligated to sign up,” Midge, 50, said about the position that pays a $600 a year honorarium.
When she thinks of Moscow and Muscovites she thinks of people who love the outdoors, she said. Poems she’s written so far have been on this theme (see “Spring Valley Reservoir” below). As an indoorsy person she loves the city’s coffee shop environment and the town’s markets and streets are full of material, she said.
“I think I’m a born people watcher, an innate student of human psychology. There are some really fascinating characters walking around.”
A Seattle native and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Midge came to Moscow in 2005 to complete her graduate degree in creative writing at the University of Idaho. At 7 p.m. Friday she’ll give a free reading from her new poetry collection, “The Woman Who Married A Bear” at Moscow’s City Hall. Released in March, the collection weaves Plains Indian myths into the present day in a search to define love, desire and identity. It won the Kenyon Review Earthworks Prize for Indigenous Poetry.
From 9:30-10:30 a.m. May 7 she’ll present work and welcome others to an open mic at Friendship Square for the first Moscow Farmers Market of 2016.
If You Go
What: An evening of poetry with Moscow Poet Laureate Tiffany Midge and guest Robert Wrigley
When: 7 p.m. Friday, April 29
Where: Moscow City Hall, Third Street Gallery, 206 E. Third St., Moscow
Spring Valley Reservoir
By Tiffany Midge
Some things are necessary, the pheasant
for instance, her call claimed first in the chest,
an elegant not wholly unpleasant
thrum as if a small being has made a nest
below your ribs, then strikes her way out.
Or the heron who wreathes the water
dragging along a veil of mist like white
lace meteors along the reservoir
banks. We need the osprey, her acrobatic
plummets for bluegill, her aerial craft
the way we need air, water, light. The creek
runoff pitches into a green prayer mat
of marsh amazed by its own silk body.
We live on this: the wings, the rhapsody.