Friday Harbor Poetry Gardens

Poetry is a way of seeing our world through another's mind. 

The Town of Friday Harbor's Poetry Gardens have been created as a way of bringing poetry into our daily experiences. The poems within were selected from a contest held for islanders of all ages living in the San Juan Islands. We hope you enjoy!

You will find the Poetry Gardens at:

  • Mullis Community Senior Center on Nash Street near the intersection with Caines Street
  • Reed Street beside the US Post Office
  • San Juan Community Theatre on Second Street at the intersection with Blair Avenue
  • Spring Street Landing at the Port of Friday Harbor below Downriggers

You will find the 2023 Poetry Gardens e-book here.

Town installs 2023 Poetry Gardens and publishes book of winning entries.

The Town and its Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC) invite the public to enjoy new poems now on display at the four Poetry Gardens located next to the Post Office, in the waterfront viewing area below Downriggers, and in front of San Juan Community Theatre and Mullis Center.  The 30 poems were written by San Juan County residents and selected by former Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna in the Town’s second Poetry Garden Contest.  

The Town also published an e-book and a limited edition booklet of the winning poems, Friday Harbor Poetry Gardens 2023.  The e-book is available on this site.  A celebratory poetry reading is planned for early 2024.   

Authors of the poems installed in the original gardens were invited to donate their plaques to the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park for special installation.  “The public will continue to enjoy these poems for many years to come,” said Town Councilmember and poetry committee member Mason Turnage. “The Town appreciates the generosity of the poets and the Sculpture Park as well as the efforts of our Poetry Garden citizen committee members Rebecca Cook and Boyd Pratt and arts commissioner David Jenkins.”

2023 Poetry Garden Contest Winners Announced

Poetry Garden 1The Town of Friday Harbor and Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC) have announced the winners of their second Poetry Garden Contest.  A blind judging process was used to review 104 poems submitted by San Juan County residents. Final selections were made by former Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna.

Engravings of the 30 winning poems will replace the original winners on display since spring 2020 in four poetry gardens located at the San Juan Community Theatre and Mullis Community Senior Center, next to the post office, and in the waterfront viewing area below Downriggers.  

A limited edition book of the winning poems, Friday Harbor Poetry Gardens 2023, is available for free at Town Hall, and an e-book is available on this website.

The Town and FHAC partnered with a committee of local citizens for the second time to bring this contest and poetry installation to the community. 

The Town and FHAC appreciate the continued support of poetry garden site owners San Juan Community Theatre, Mullis Community Senior Center, the Port of Friday Harbor, and the US Post Office.  

Contest winners:  Judith Azrael ("Serenity"), Eliza Bishop Steinbacher ("The First Things"), Madeleine S. Butcher ("Field" and "How the Field Lies"), Nita Couchman ("Fresh Snow" and "Pastel Morning"), Susie Foster Hale ("A November Afternoon" and "About Longing"), Emily Geyman ("The Sea"), Sandora Hedrich ("Silence" and "Wilding Wonderment"), Ladd Thomas Holroyd ("Working Cedar"), Lowell Jons ("News of the Week" and "Tracks"), Amber R. Lewis ("The Eagle"), Lynne Mercer ("Only Trees Can Provide"), Tara Mesalik MacMahon ("Haiku Gardens-1 and 2" and "Gratitude"), Jeff Otis ("Life On The Ferry"), Cynthia Rogers ("Our Final Test"), Wendy Smith ("Prehistoric Now"), Keri Talbott ("Rumors"), Marianne Tynan ("In the Gloaming" and "Saving the Island Marble Butterfly"), Paul S. Walsh ("Color" and "Surprise"), William Weissinger ("The Sea Breathes Out the Gentlest of Sighs"), and Ed Wilson ("A Garland of Thyme" and "September Lace")