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2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate

Application Deadline

February 18, 2019





Call to Artists

Download the Call to Artists PDF



The Tacoma Arts Commission announces the eighth annual Tacoma Poet Laureate competition, the winner of which will be named Tacoma Poet Laureate for 2019-2021.

The Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for a period of two years, from May 2019 to April 2021, 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 2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate is expected to determine the direction, focus, and appropriate public components for their term of service.

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, Kellie Richardson, will curate and host a poetry event at which the winner of this year's Poet Laureate competition will be awarded. The event date and location will be announced soon.



  • Applicant must live in Pierce County and be actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community. Staff will verify addresses against official Pierce County maps. 

  • 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.

To Apply

Please submit the following at https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit:


Proof of Residency

Such as your Washington State ID, Driver’s License, housing lease, or current utility bill 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. 

Artist Resume or Bio



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 2 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. 


For additional information, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or via email.


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Naomi Strom-Avila

(253) 591-5191