The Stafford Challenge
Guest Poet Events

Starting January 17th, each month we will offer a Guest Poet Zoom event featuring accomplished poets who'll impart their wisdom, share their work, offer inspiration, and celebrate the magic of poetry. 

Please explore our growing list of poets below. 
We are in correspondence with other poets, who will be announced upon agreement.

Please note that links to books below are affiliate links, and I may make a very small percentage for each sale. The funds help keep this site running. Thanks!

Kim Stafford

Past Poet Laureate of Oregon

Wednesday, January 17, 5pm PT

Kim Stafford, founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, teaches and travels to raise the human spirit. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft and 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared. His most recent book is the poetry collection Singer Come from Afar (Red Hen, 2021). He has taught writing in dozens of schools and community centers, and in Scotland, Italy, Mexico, and Bhutan. In 2018 he was named Oregon’s 9th Poet Laureate by Governor Kate Brown for a two-year term.

Mona Lisa Saloy, Ph.D.

Past Poet Laureate of Louisiana and Louisiana Folklife Commissioner

Tuesday, February 20, 5pm PT

Mona Lisa Saloy, Ph.D. Louisiana Poet Laureate (2021-2023), is an author, folklorist, Louisiana Folklife Commissioner, educator, and scholar of Creole culture in articles, documentaries, and poems about Black New Orleans before and after Katrina; currently Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor of English at Dillard University; poetry books: Red Beans & Ricely Yours, won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Second Line Home, celebrates New Orleans Black Creole culture. Recent pubs include The Chicago Quarterly Review, Vol 33; Black FIRE!!! This Time Anthology; and in Tribes journal NYC, 2022. Her new collection Black Creole Chronicles: Poems (University of New Orleans Press 2023), chosen for ONE BOOK ONE NEW ORLEANS 2024. Mona Lisa Saloy writes for those who don’t or can’t tell Black Creole cultural stories. Tweet to @redbeansista

Emmett Wheatfall

Tuesday, March 19, 5pm PT

Emmett Wheatfall lives in Portland, Oregon. He features, writes, records, publishes, and performs poetry to music. Fernwood Press, an imprint of Barclay Press has published three books of Emmett's poetry. His collection titled As Clean as a Bone was published in May 2018 and was a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist as well as a da Vinci Eye award finalist. His other books are Our Scarlet Blue Wounds (November 2019), With Extreme Prejudice, Lest We Forget (June 2022), and poetry chapbook First Among Beautiful Stars (September 2023). For more biographical information visit

    Georgia Popoff

    Poet Laureate of Onondaga County, New York

    Tuesday, April 16, 5pm PT

    Georgia A. Popoff is a writer, editor, arts-in-education specialist, and a program coordinator for the YMCA of Central NY’s Writers Voice, where she teaches poetry and creative nonfiction. Her fourth collection of poetry, Psychometry, was released in late 2019 by Tiger Bark Press, and was a finalist for Utica College’s Eugene Nassar Poetry Prize and the CNY Book Award for Poetry. Her fifth collection, Living with Haints, is forthcoming in 2024. In 2022, Georgia was named Poet Laureate of Onondaga County for a 2-year term of service. She is the series editor for the University of Michigan Press Under Discussion book series on contemporary poets. For more information and for links to purchase books, visit You can also follow her on Facebook, and on Instagram and Twitter: @gappoet.

      Lauren Camp

      New Mexico Poet Laureate and 2023 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow

      Thursday, May 9, 5pm PT

      Lauren Camp currently serves as New Mexico Poet Laureate. She is the author of seven books, most recently An Eye in Each Square (River River Books, 2023) and Worn Smooth between Devourings (NYQ Books, 2023). Camp is a 2023 Academy of American Poets Laureate fellow, recipient of a Dorset Prize and finalist for the Arab American Book Award and Adrienne Rich Award. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Arabic. She is an emeritus fellow for Black Earth Institute and was Astronomer in Residence at Grand Canyon National Park.

        Jessica Jacobs

        Founder and executive director of Yetzirah: A Hearth for Jewish Poetry

        Tuesday, June 18, 5pm PT

        Jessica Jacobs is the author of unalone, poems in conversation with the Book of Genesis (Four Way Books, forthcoming March 2024); Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books, 2019), one of Library Journal’s Best Poetry Books of the Year and winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards; and Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press, 2015), winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and is the co-author of Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/Penguin RandomHouse, 2020). Jessica is the founder and executive director of Yetzirah: A Hearth for Jewish Poetry

          Emilie Lygren

          Thursday, July 18, 5pm PT

          Emilie Lygren is a nonbinary poet and outdoor educator who is fascinated by the intersections between scientific observation and poetic wonder. Emilie has developed dozens of publications and curricula focused on outdoor science education and social-emotional learning through her work with the award-winning BEETLES Project at the Lawrence Hall of Science. She's also widely published as a poet, and her poems appeared in Thimble Literary Magazine, The English Leadership Quarterly, and numerous anthologies. Emilie's debut poetry collection, What We Were Born For, won the Blue Light Book award in 2021. In her writing and teaching, Emilie centers awareness and curiosity as tools to bring people into deeper relationship with themselves, their communities, and the places they inhabit. Emilie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology-Biology from Brown University and an MFA in poetry from Maharishi International University. She lives in San Rafael, California, and spends much of her time wondering about oaks and teaching poetry in local classrooms.

            Naomi Shihab Nye

            Youth Poet Laureate through the Poetry Foundation

            Tuesday, September 10, 5pm PT

            Palestinian-American writer, editor and educator Naomi Shihab Nye grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she graduated from Trinity University and continues to live. She has been Young People’s Poet Laureate for the U.S. (Poetry Foundation), poetry editor for the New York Times magazine, and The Texas Observer, and a visiting writer in hundreds of schools and communities all over the world. Her books include Everything Comes Next, The Tiny Journalist, Voices in the Air, Sitti’s Secrets, Habibi, This Same Sky, and The Tree is Older than You Are: Poems & Paintings from Mexico. Her volume 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Turtle of Oman and The Turtle of Michigan have both been part of the Little Read program, North Carolina. She received Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Texas Institute of Letters and the National Book Critics Circle. Photo by Ricardo Romo.

            CMarie Fuhrman

            Past Poet Laureate of Idaho, Writer in Residence, 2021–2023

            Tuesday, October 29, 5pm PT

            CMarie Fuhrman is the author of Camped Beneath the Dam: Poems and co-editor of Cascadia: Art, Ecology, and Poetry and Native Voices: Indigenous Poetry, Craft, and Conversations. She has published or forthcoming poetry and nonfiction in multiple journals and anthologies. CMarie is an award-winning columnist for the Inlander and Director of the Elk River Writers Workshop. She is Associate Director and Director of Poetry at Western Colorado University, where she teaches nature writing. CMarie is the host of Terra Firma. She resides in the Salmon River Mountains of Idaho with dogs and wilderness.

            Ready to make the commitment?