Elizabeth Woody is Oregon's new poet laureate.

Elizabeth Woody is Oregon’s new poet laureate.

Laurie Isola/OPB

Gov. Kate Brown will recognize two prominent Oregon poets Tuesday at a ceremony in East Portland. Outgoing poet laureate Elizabeth Woody of Warm Springs is passing the baton this summer to Portland writer Kim Stafford.

Woody, whose first language was Navajo, is the author of several collections of poetry, including “Hand Into Stone.” She told OPB in 2016 that she began writing poetry late in her high school years in Madras.

“I took what was considered poetic license. I made my own syntax and my own words,” Woody said. “Poetry is only a part of my life. It’s not my sole purpose.”

Woody has been involved in educational and social justice work, taught creative writing as a professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and co-founded the Northwest Native American Writers Association. She’s also the first indigenous person to serve as Oregon’s poet laureate.

Stafford, an associate professor at Lewis and Clark College, will serve a two-year term as an ambassador of writing and creative expression all over the state. In addition to writing poetry and essays, he teaches at the Northwest Writing Institute.

Tuesday’s event will be held at the Rockwood Boys & Girls Club.