Call to Artists
Download the call to artists for details
February 27, 2017, 11:59 PM
The Tacoma Arts Commission announces the seventh annual Tacoma Poet Laureate competition, the winner of which will be named Tacoma Poet Laureate for 2017-2019.
The Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for a period of two years, from May 2017 to April 2019, and receive a stipend of $4,000. The individual will actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects; participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October; and help produce the 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.
In keeping with the City of Tacoma’s Equity and Empowerment Initiative, the Tacoma Poet Laureate should actively strive to engage the breadth of Tacoma’s citizenry, expanding access to the literary arts to underserved/underrepresented audiences including people of different races/ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation and identity, ability, and income.
People who are members of historically disenfranchised racial, ethnic, cultural, and other identity groups are encouraged to apply.
Current Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen will curate and host a poetry event at which the winner of this year's Poet Laureate competition will be awarded. The event is will be held on Saturday, April 29, 6 PM. The event location will be announced.
- Applicant must live in Pierce County and be actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community. Staff will verify addresses against an official Pierce County map.
- Applicant must be a practicing artist, dedicated to producing poetry (in any form, genre, or style) on a regular basis.
- Applicant must be 18 years or older.
- Applicant cannot be a previous Tacoma Poet Laureate title holder.
- Applicant cannot be a current Tacoma Arts Commission member, City Council member, City of Tacoma staff member, or Tacoma Poet Laureate selection panel member.
- Artistic Quality (as exhibited in written and recorded work samples)
- Demonstrated history of involvement and activity within the literary arts
- Ability to engage the breadth of Tacoma’s citizenry in meaningful ways to further the literary arts in our community
The artist selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate must be willing and able to:
- Offer a minimum of two free public workshops in Tacoma each year relating to poetry (four workshops total.)
- Actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications, special projects, etc. as negotiated with the City’s Arts Program staff.
- Participate in Tacoma Arts Month programming each October.
- Competently handle administrative duties including being the point of contact for all programming inquiries from the public, managing a schedule, arranging details for programs, and coordinating press releases with City’s Arts Program staff.
- Help produce, with the assistance of the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program, an event in Tacoma in April 2019 to announce the winner of the 2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate program.
To be considered, applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and submit the following five items via Submittable:
- Proof of Residency
A copy of your Washington State ID, Driver's License, or current utility bill in your name to indicate your current residency within Pierce County.
- Short Responses
Answers to the following five questions. Limit each answer to no more than 250 words.
• Describe your relationship to Tacoma.
• What do you see is the role a Poet Laureate should play in a community?
• How would you serve the community as Tacoma Poet Laureate?
• Outline your proposed community engagement strategy. How will you encourage others, especially underserved/underrepresented poetry audiences, to participate in the literary arts?
• Briefly summarize two sample workshops or projects you think might appeal to public audiences that you would consider presenting as Tacoma Poet Laureate.
Names and contact information for two references who can speak to how you would serve in a public role promoting poetry.
- Work Samples with Descriptions
• Five written poetry samples of your own composition, and
• One to two recorded poetry samples - submit URLs or digital video or audio recording samples of you reading or performing your own compositions. At least one recorded piece should be the same composition as one of the written poetry samples you are submitting.
Tacoma Poet Laureate Background
The Tacoma Poet Laureate position was founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church as a way of focusing attention on Tacoma’s literary talent by organizing and hosting public readings and workshops in local schools and community events.
In 2011, upon the request of Urban Grace Church, the administration of the Poet Laureate program transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program. Urban Grace Church is recognized as the founding partner of the program. Past poets laureate include William Kupinse; Antonio Edwards, Jr; Tammy Robacker; Josie Emmons Turner; and Lucas Smiraldo. The current poet laureate is Cathy Nguyen.
| Application deadline
|| February 27, 2017, 11:59 PM
|| By April 14, 2017
|Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony
|| April 29, 2017, 6 PM
| Term of service
|| May 2017 – April 2019
For questions or assistance, please email Naomi Strom-Avila or call (253) 591-5191.