Featured Poet

Ethel Romig Fuller

Ethel Romig Fuller (1883-1965) was Oregon’s third poet laureate, from 1957 until her death several years later. As the Oregonian’s poetry editor for over 25 years, Fuller was a prominent figure in Oregon’s literary community, if a somewhat shy and elusive one. She was once credited as someone who “sees a poem in everything” and mentored many up and coming Oregon poets through her column.

Fuller was born in Michigan and moved to Oregon when she was 23. Three years later, she visited Mt. Hood, a two-day trip from Portland at the time, and climbed to the top. “From that day on,” she said, “I had to write about the Northwest.” She published her first book of poetry White Peaks of Green in 1928. This was followed by two more volumes: Kitchen Sonnets (1931) and Skylines (1952). A staunch supporter of poetic expression, Fuller started at the Oregonian in a somewhat conspicuous manner. When she heard about the newspaper's plans to cancel the column, she, in her own words, "blew her top," and went into the editor's office to protest. Not only did she save the poetry column, but she also talked herself into a job. The column became quite competitive and a well-known outlet for unknown poets from around the world to publish. In 1942, Fuller returned to the Northwest mountains that so inspired her, and retreated to a remote mountaintop home with her husband for over ten years.

By the time of her death, Fuller's poems had been published in several textbooks, magazines, and anthologies. The New York Times once declared her poem "Proof" to be the most-quoted poem in America; it was even published under the byline "Anonymous." "And if that isn't fame," Fuller herself once joked, "I don't know what is!"

poems by Ethel Romig Fuller

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Recognizing the need for poetry in our lives, the Oregon Poetic Voices Project (OPV) has begun to create a comprehensive digital archive of poetry readings that will complement existing print collections of poetry across the state.

"We each carry lines of poetry with us. Words that others have written float back to us and stay with us, indelibly. We clutch these "life lines" like totems, repeat them as mantras, and summon them for comfort and laughter."

-Academy of American Poets