Lake Sammamish Poetry Walk

This interactive poetry walk was created by the City of Redmond’s 2023 Poet Laureate, Laura Da’. She invites you to use these prompts as a guided creative writing exercise. Follow each step based on your responses. Use a pencil and paper or your phone to write as much or as little as you would like for each prompt. Notice the way your choices guide the images, words, and direction of your writing.

Join Poet Laureate Laura Da’ on the shores of Lake Sammamish to celebrate the debut of her Poetry Walk inspired by the ecosystem within Redmond that supports the kokanee salmon. This free event will be held from 6 - 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 6, at Idylwood Park. 

For more information or to sign up for the event, please visit

Lake Poetry Walk Prompt Choices

Land forms and beings in the lake ecosystem will create the template for each prompt. 

1. Lake or River or Creek

  • Lake: Write about a place that represents a sense of shelter and connection for you.
  • River: Write about the important sources of water in your life.
  • Creek: Write about how you got here and what kinds of land and water you crossed.  

2. Kokanee Egg or Kokanee Fry or Spawning Adult Kokanee

  • Kokanee Egg: What is an important place in your life where some of your memories live?
  • Kokanee Fry: What is a journey you have taken that challenged or changed you?
  • Spawning Adult Kokanee: What space of home or homecoming is important to your life story?

3. Douglas Fit or Sitka Spruce or Western Red Cedar

  • Douglas Fir: Name an emotion that you feel and try to think of a form of protection that the land could offer to help you process it.
  • Sitka Spruce: Name an emotion that you wish to feel in the future.
  • Western Red Cedar: Name an emotion that offers sustenance and nourishment

4. Bristle Moss or Bleeding Heart or Snowberry

  • Bristle Moss: Describe something you can touch.
  • Bleeding Heart: Describe one growing thing you can see.
  • Snowberry: Describe something you can taste or smell.

5. Great Blue Heron or Swallowtail Butterfly or Bald Eagle

  • Great Blue Heron: Add a question or fact about the history of this place. 
  • Swallowtail Butterfly: Add a question or fact about how this land provides for people and other creatures in the ecosystem.
  • Bald Eagle: Add a question or fact about the future. What might happen here in the future?  

6. Salmonberry or Salal or Huckleberry

  • Salmonberry: Pick one detail that you notice when you look out across the land.
  • Salal: Pick one detail that you notice when you look over the water.
  • Huckleberry: Pick one detail that you notice when you look up to the sky. 

7. Trillium or Nettle or Pacific Treefrog

  • Trillium: Write about an idea that is blooming in your mind.
  • Nettle: What about an idea that is under the surface.
  • Pacific Treefrog: Write about an idea that leaps from one place to another. 

8. Bear or Beaver or Bobcat

  • Bear: What are the patterns of rest and activity in your life? 
  • Beaver: What signs of change can you see in this ecosystem? 
  • Bobcat: What signs of the ecosystem can you see, and what signs are hidden? 

9. Western Sword Fern or Red Osier Dogwood or Cattail

  • Western Sword Fern: Name a hope you have for this place.
  • Red Osier Dogwood: Name something that you would like to provide, to protect, or assist the ecosystem in this place.
  • Cattail: Name something this space provides to the ecosystem. 

Established in 2008, the Poet Laureate program produces a variety of programming and community engagement opportunities offered to Redmond residents and visitors. The 2023 Poet Laureate Laura Da’ is a lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Eastern Shawnee. Her first book, Tributaries, was published by the University of Arizona Press and won a 2016 American Book Award. She was recently named the Poet Planner for the 2023-2025 4Culture poetry program and named one of 23 recipients nationwide to be awarded a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets Laureate this year.