The often rugged coastlines of the Pacific Northwest create many
places decidedly “Northwest” in flavor, and visiting coastal places is
part of the experience of living here. Some say coastal areas are “the
last wilderness.” As “edges” between sea and land, tidal zones offer
homes to as much as forty percent of all living organisms. And beaches
attract people for recreation, for relaxation, for spiritual renewal, and for
escape from routine. They are places of transformation in our lives, just
as they are continually transforming themselves through tides, storms,
erosion, accretion, and even the occasional shipwreck.
Northwest coastal places offer rich opportunities for poetry.
However, some knowledge of the place is necessary for a poem to skirt
cliché, and certain approaches are more rewarding than others.
The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.