Arts & Humanities Bainbridge and the City of Bainbridge Island are pleased to announce the appointment of Michele Bombardier as Bainbridge Island’s inaugural Poet Laureate.
After nomination by Arts & Humanities Bainbridge, Michele’s appointment was unanimously confirmed for a two-year term by the Bainbridge Island City Council at its September 27, 2022 meeting.
Following her confirmation, she said, “I’m honored to serve as Bainbridge Island’s inaugural poet laureate. I look forward to organizing events such as workshops and open mics as well as bringing regional and national poets to Bainbridge for readings. We have such a vibrant arts community here and I’m glad that poetry is welcome at the table. My hope is that this position will provide opportunities for everyone in our community to experience poetry in new ways.”
Michele and her family have lived on Bainbridge for over thirty years. After a thirty-two year career as a speech-language pathologist, she returned to graduate school at Pacific University to follow a long-held dream of earning an MFA in poetry. Her debut poetry collection, What We Do, was a finalist for a 2019 Washington Book Award. Her poetry and book reviews can be found in dozens of literary journals such as JAMA, Alaska Quarterly Review, Atlanta Review, Parabola, Bellevue Literary Review, and many others. She is a Hedgebrook and Mineral School fellow and is the founder of Fishplate Poetry, an organization that offers workshops, editing, and retreats while raising funds for humanitarian relief.
As a poet, Michele has presented to Bainbridge High School English classes, led small creative writing groups for middle schoolers, and has been an invited lecturer at several universities. She has also been a featured poet at the Bainbridge Public Library and taught a class at BARN called “After Mary Oliver” that promoted reading of diverse poets. She is nearing completion of her second book of poems and has begun working on a third.
As Bainbridge Island’s Poet Laureate, Michele will host readings, offer classes and workshops, bring other poets from the Puget Sound region and beyond to Bainbridge, and encourage Bainbridge Island poets of all ages. She will also compose and present poems for Bainbridge Island Creative District events, island celebrations and gatherings, and at COBI functions.