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City of Boston looking for next Poet Laureate

The Poet Laureate program, established in 2008, was started to highlight literary arts and promote appreciation for poetry.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture today announced the City of Boston is seeking nominations and applications for its next Poet Laureate.

“The Poet Laureate plays a vital role to Boston’s literary and poetic landscape by educating the public about the power of words,” said Mayor Walsh. “The City of Boston has been so fortunate to have Danielle Legros Georges serve as the Poet Laureate, and I am eager to see this next Poet Laureate build on her accomplishments.”

The Poet Laureate program, established in 2008, was started to highlight literary arts and promote appreciation for poetry. The Poet Laureate’s challenge is to inspire deeper engagement in the written and spoken word. 

The City’s Poet Laureate acts as an advocate for poetry, language and the arts, and creates a unique artistic legacy through public readings and civic events. The mission for the laureateship is to raise the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of Bostonians.

“The Poet Laureate’s work is a great example of the Boston Creates Cultural Plan in action. To integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life is a major goal of the plan and this work really does embody that aspiration,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture. “We look forward to continuing to use poetry to promote community engagement, expression and participation in the literary arts.”

The Poet Laureate will be expected to participate in civic events, act as a literary ambassador to the City, and enhance current Boston Public Schools and Boston Public Library poetry programs through engagement and outreach. They will also serve as a juror for the annual Mayor’s Poetry Program at City Hall, participate in National Poetry Month each April, and act as a resource for the City of Boston’s Youth Poet Laureate. 

“It has been a great honor and pleasure to serve as Boston’s second Poet Laureate,” said Danielle Legros Georges, the City’s current Poet Laureate. “The role has taught me so much about the City, including how cherished and relevant poetry is as an art form within it. Most of all, I’ve appreciated meeting Bostonians of all stages and walks of life who love, like, and are curious about poetry; and who value the power of the arts in the world. I very much look forward to welcoming our third Laureate in 2019.”

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have resided in the City of Boston for a minimum of one year prior to nomination, and and be active as professional poets who have strong commitments to the community. The Poet Laureate is a ceremonial and not a political appointment, and the term of service is four years. 

A distinguished group of literary professionals has been gathered to act as a search committee. The Laureate Selection Panel will evaluate all entries and hold interviews with the final candidates. The City will announce the new Poet Laureate in December 2018, with a term to begin in January of 2019.

Applications can be submitted digitally or by mail, and the deadline is September 3, 2018. You can nominate an individual online as the Poet Laureate.  You can also apply online to be the next Poet Laureate.

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