Peggy ShumakerProjects











Alaska Quarterly Review, Spring-Summer 2016 published as a special feature Sparks: A Conversation in Poems and Paintings, the result of a year-long collaboration between me and Kes Woodward. All the paintings and poems are there, along with a transcript of a conversation.

New poems in Cascadia Review, "Reading Out Loud the Whole Book," "Holy,The Soup," "Lists," "Eva's Cairn," "The Holiness of the Ground"

New poems in Cutthroat, "Becoming Earth," "Touching What's Wild," "Valentine for Eva," "Choices," "Strong Enough"


The Rasmuson Foundation has selected me as their Distinguished Artist for 2014.

You can watch the entire award ceremony or the brief mini doc they commissioned.

Rasmuson Foundadtion You Tube Videos

Thank you to everyone involved--the board, the staff, and the selection committee.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the artists who received individual grants and to those who received project grants.  This support will allow lots of art to flourish across Alaska.


Thanks to everyone at Artsmith for selecting me as Artist in Residence on Orcas Island.  Special thanks to Jill and Charles at Kangaroo House for their gracious hospitality.


Boreal Books         An Imprint of Red Hen Press

Mark Rozema, Road Trip (essays)
Lori Tobias, Wander (novel)
James Englehardt, Bone Willows (poems)

Susanna Mischler, Termination Dust (poems)

Melina Draper, Later the House Stood Empty (poems)

Erin Hollowell, Pause, Traveler (poems)

Anne Coray, A Measure's Hush (poems)

Nicole Stellon-O'Donnell, Steam Laundry (poems)

Margo Klass and Frank Soos, Double Moon(art and brief prose)

Marjorie Kowalski Cole, The City Beneath the Snow (stories)

Joan Kane, The Cormorant Hunter's Wife (poems)

Eva Saulitis, Leaving Resurrection (essays)


Alaska Literary Series


Rosemary McGuire The Creatures at the Absolute Bottom of the Sea (short stories)
Linda Martin I Follow In the Dust She Raises (poems)
Jeremy Pataky Overwinter (poems)
Tom Sexton A Ladder of Cranes (poems)


Sailing by Ravens, poems by Holly Hughes

River of Light, poem by John Morgan, paintings by Kesler Woodward

Benchmarks: New and Selected Poems by Richard Dauenhauer



Gaining Daylight, nonfiction by Sarah Loewen

Oil and Water,a novel by Mei Mei Evans

Upriver, poems by Carolyn Kremers


      The City Beneath the Snow, a book of short stories by Marjorie Kowalski Cole

      The Rabbits Could Sing, a book of poems by Amber Flora Thomas

      The Cormorant Hunter's Wife, a reprint of the first book of poems by Joan Kane



THE ALASKA WRITERS DIRECTORY is now live.  Please visit our site--Alaska Writers Directory(  If you're a writer, please post your information!


Alaska State Writer Laureate 2010-2012

As Alaska State Writer Laureate I'll do what I can to create opportunities for writers in Alaska. I'll also work to make Alaskan writers visible in Alaska and in the rest of the world.

My projects will involve travel, teaching, readings, workshops, and community visits. I'll work on projects to publish Alaskan writers. I'll set up events that connect Alaskan writers and their audiences. I'll encourage collaborations between writers and artists working in other forms.

Since 1976, I've balanced writing and teaching. The writing is mostly solitary. The teaching's usually sociable. So that's a good mix. I love the on-going conversation that takes place when people read and write and talk about reading and writing. I envision lots of community classes, writing workshops, classroom visits, and conference or festival sessions.

Teaching has taught me to articulate what I've done instinctively, to describe what I value and why, to refine my aesthetics. It's also helped me identify where I might branch out or experiment, where I need to try a new tool or technique. Those are all gifts of considerable value to a working writer.

Writing has taught me that the world will never work the way we expect or predict. The primary way I apprehend the world is by language. So the language has to stay fresh, ready for anything.

I'm really looking forward to listening to writers and readers in towns and villages throughout Alaska.



I teach in the amazing low-residency Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program. Each August, students and faculty gather for a ten-day residency on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University.

The last two weeks of July, Fairbanks hosts a truly remarkable arts festival. I coordinate the creative writing class, which is open to everyone--all genres, all levels of experience.

I love the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference, held in Homer, Alaska, at the tip of the spit. Think otters, eagles, writers ... Glaciers, mountains, ocean ...


My first Lifelong Learning class was such a blast that I plan to teach again in this program for participants over the age of 50.

Osher Lifelong Learning




Karla Elling, fine printer, produced a letterpress broadside of my poem "As War Goes On." She made the paper from a combination of my clothing and the uniforms of young veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wrote the poem after spending an afternoon with the makers of combat paper, former soldiers who are remaking their lives as artists. Visit the website

A letterpress broadside, with the painting Bright Tracks by Kesler E. Woodward, features my poem "Long Before We Got Here, Long After We're Gone." Letterpress work by Heather Neal Kasvinsky.


I am founding editor of Boreal Books, publishing literature and fine art from Alaska.


I serve as series editor of the Alaska Literary Series.

I'm a member of the Advisory Board for Red Hen Press.

I serve on the National Advisory Board for the Prairie Schooner Book Prizes.

I'm a contributing editor for Alaska Quarterly Review.


I'm on the Advisory Board for Crab Creek Review.


Worthy Ventures

49 Writers

This website and blog by, for, and about Alaskan writers has now morphed into the first center for writers in Alaska!  Thank you to Andromeda and Deb!  49 Writers

Joe and I support the events and programs of the UA Poetry Center and encourage poets and readers to visit their marvelous library of contemporary poetry.   (website)


I had a great time with writers from Alaska and Canada talking shop and enjoying Skagway, Alaska. 2012 gathering will take place in Denali! North Words Writers Symposium

Island Institute

Want a great place to write?  The Institute brings four writers a year to gorgeous Sitka.  They provide a place to stay and a stipend in exchange for community events. Wonderful people!

Welcome to The Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska



I enjoy teaching at writing conferences and festivals, and giving workshops and readings. Please contact me at  .