Meet Sandra Noel, Who Is Vashon’s Next Poet Laureate

Vashon’s next Poet Laureate, Sandra Noel, with a 500-year-old friend (L. Zahava Photo).

Vashon’s next Poet Laureate, Sandra Noel, with a 500-year-old friend (L. Zahava Photo).

Sandra Noel is the new Vashon Poet Laureate 2021-23.

Later this summer, tentatively outside at Vashon Winery, the laureate selection committee will honor Sandra and thank outgoing laureate, Susan Lynch.

Noel is a much-published poet, with her verse appearing in Pontoon, Protest Poems, Buddhist Poetry Review, Bellowing Ark, Elohi Gadugi Journal and others. She is the author of four chapbooks, “The Gypsy in my Kitchen,” and “Into the Green,” (Finishing Line Press), “The River,” (Kelsay Press), and “Unraveling the Endless Knot,” (Middle Creek Publishing & Audio).

“Love, Island” — a full-length book of poems that sprang from Noel’s life on Vashon — is her newest work, published by Goldfish Press.

Though not a native of the Pacific Northwest, Noel now has deep roots here. She moved to Vashon after graduating from Western Washington University in 1981 with a degree in marine biology.

Since then, Vashon’s beaches, forests and miles of trails have inspired Noel’s work as a poet, and also informed her career as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and interpretive writer working for her own company, Noel Design, LLC., which she established in 1988.

Through her work with that company, Noel has created interpretative signage that graces scenic trails in places including the Snoqualmie National Forest and North Cascades National Park, and on Vashon, in Island Center Forest. Islanders have also long seen her work in town — she created Vashon Festival posters and cards, sold at the Strawberry Festivals for more than 20 years.

In addition to all this, she has also contributed her artistic and design skills as a volunteer for non-profit conservation organizations including Alliance for Tompotika, (AlTo) a conservation education non-profit working in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

In an email, Noel said she hoped to soon get together when “we can all meet human to human in the coming fall.”

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