Poetry in Anacortes

As with most small towns in America, poetry was a hobby for many and a career for few-to-none. Schools, clubs and newspapers published works of community pride and evocative beauty in Anacortes leading up to and through the 20th century. Charley Gant was the luminary of poets in early Anacortes. At the other end of the century, Robert Sund resided at his poet’s house here until his death in 2001.


These web pages are a collaborative effort to interpret the history of this place in the words and people it has inspired. Related pages include (or will include) an evolving timeline of poets, poems and publications, and focus on Charley Gant and his poems, the 1930 Book of Verse, and editions of the Anacortes High School poetry magazine, Chrysalis, as they come into our collection. If you can contribute more information or artifacts to this interpretation, please contact the Anacortes Museum. We hope this will always be a work in progress.

From the Lucky Man’s House: Poems From the Anacortes Schools, 1984

-- Samuel Green, Poet in Residence and Editor

“One of the things I’ve tried to get across to students this year is that our lives - our daily lives - are full of poetry. For “poetry” read “harmonies.” Say “meaningful connections.” But it’s often - most often - to see those harmonies, to make those connections. All of us, I believe, are thirsty people. At the same time I think this is true: We all live in potentially lucky houses. Our experiences are unique to us. Part of our thirst can be slaked by recognizing this and fitting the puzzle of it together. Making sense out of apparently disparate elements. The poem, its working out, the finding of it on the page, can accomplish this. But what makes our lucky houses even luckier, I think, is the act of sharing, letting the raven wings of our hearts carry the poetry of our lives to others, even as we stand listening for that distinctive flap ourselves.”

Fair Anacortes 1919