Young Poet Sets Long Term Goals

Kelsey Webb wrote her first poem in ninth grade English class.

The focus of education for Kelsey Webb is to get a degree in Environmental Studies. Currently enrolled at Green River Community College with an eye on Western Washington University or Gonzaga, her interest in nature also defines the poetry she writes.

Kelsey was one of seven poets who presented their work, often sharing their soul, at the first meeting of The Unknown Poets Society this past month. The Society has no membership, no board of directors, and no meetings other than periodic poetry readings. Two poets, Steve Israel from Black Diamond and Wendy Bell from Edgewood tied for first place by public vote at the first poetry event. Israel recited Lawson Mine Explosion, a poem of history that is also a song, while Bell’s poetic creation told of environmental concerns. The Unknown Poets Society was an idea conceived by Ravensdale resident Susan Etchey, author and freelance writer, who is currently writing a book. “It’s an isolating existence,” she admits. “The poetry project is a motivator for me to keep actively involved in the writing life and to get out and meet engaging people.”

Kelsey the poet was engaging to say the least – a young student, sharing her talent, so emotional in her reading of Wet Paint Road. “The poem is what was going on in my mind during a first date with my boyfriend, Kaelen. We spent the day driving around Enumclaw – a town that I didn’t know much about,” said Kelsey, a Black Diamond resident. Kaelen described their surroundings, pointing out [she quotes from the poem] …   “things to me, things like fields, things like trees. Things like a house holding a silent pose. Or a trailhead that nobody knows where it goes”. Kelsey said Kaelen made the things they were looking at, come to life. “Some people have told me this poem sounds like I was running away from something, which in a sense is true. She said Kaelen helped her recover from self-confidence issues. “Oftentimes I write about subjects that I find difficult to talk about. My hope is that someone who relates to my experience can find comfort in my work. I also have the goal of continuing the conversations on mental illness and empowering women.”

Credit Ms. Christensen, a ninth grade English teacher at Enumclaw High School for giving Kelsey a head start as a poet. “She was the first person to really point out my talent,” says Kelsey, who also gives credit to Kaelen for getting her back into poetry when she had stopped writing for a long time. “He supports me when I have my doubts. That in itself makes me incredibly encouraged to write more.” Kelsey intends to continue reading her poems for The Unknown Poets Society, including those inspired by the poetry book “I Hope This Reaches Her In Time”. Her work can be viewed at

For her very first attempt at writing a poem, back in the ninth grade as a classroom assignment, Kelsey got inspired to write “By the Riverside” simply from a picture she had found online. “I’m proud of how it turned out,” she says. Readers and listeners of her poems can be proud too. The last half of the assignment for Ms. Christensen’s English class reads:

riverside winds whisper my name

tree branches carry delicate birds

bees buzz past my cheek

i do not swat them away

a quiet exchange of words

between us

in awe

soft sun peeking

through nibbled leaves

our place

a special place

where we weave

our bodies through trees

two sets of

wide eyes can finally see

sparkling water

moss covered rocks

the little red bench

where we take off our socks

reflections smile back at us

until the sun sets