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Tacoma Poet Laureate


The Tacoma Poet Laureate program was developed to showcase local artists who actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications, and special projects.

The program was founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church and transitioned to the City of Tacoma's Arts & Cultural Vitality Division in 2011.


2023-2025 Poet Laureate - Christian PaigeChristian Paige

Christian Paige is an Emmy nominated spoken word poet, a professional speaker and educator who speaks at schools, conferences, and events across the United States. Paige has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people and loves to work with young people who are committed to doing good in the world. Paige is a first-generation college graduate, an Act Six Scholar and is passionate about community, anti-racism, equity, and empowerment. He has spent his entire career in and around education advocating for historically marginalized populations and working to create equitable environments where young people can thrive.

Paige's work has appeared on national stages, on television, and in museum exhibits. Paige is one of the top youth speakers in the Pacific Northwest and is in demand nationally however, Paige believes there is no place like home. He was born and raised in Tacoma where he currently lives and creates. He believes that our voice is our most powerful tool and encourages others to use their voice to advocate, interrupt, empower, and teach. Christian often uses one sentence to summarize himself. He says, “I am just somebody, who wants community to work for everybody.”

Contact Christian Paige

If you are interested in working with Christian Paige or having him perform for your school, organization, or event, please contact Christian by email at speak@christianpaige.com, on the web at www.christianpaige.com, or on social media using the handle @cpaigespeaks on Facebook and Instagram.


Events in the Community

Here's a sampling of where Christian Paige has performed and presented in his role as poet laureate: 

  • Pass the Torch: Tacoma Poet Laureate Celebration (April 2023) - Watch the recording
  • Hot Seat - A showcase of Tacoma Talent (May, July, August 2023)
  • City of Tacoma's Juneteenth Celebration (June 2023)
  • Juneteenth Celebration at the State Capital (June 2023)
  • Hilltop Street Fair (August 2023)
  • Atlantic Festival (September 2023)

Past Tacoma Poets Laureate

Lydia K. Valentine (2021-2023)
Abby E. Murray (2019-2021)
Kellie Richardson (2017 - 2019)
Thy Nguyễn (2015 - 2017)
Lucas Smiraldo (2013 - 2015)
Josie Emmons Turner (2011 - 2013)
Tammy Robacker (2010 - 2011)
Antonio Edwards, Jr. (2009 - 2010)
William Kupinse (2008 - 2009)

Laureate Listening Project


Every person has a story to tell. In this online audio anthology, community members from Tacoma and greater Pierce County reflected on the importance of a particular place in their own life, through poetry. The Laureate Listening Project was conceived and organized by 2013-2015 Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo. The project was funded in part by a Spark Grant from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and by the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Arts Commission.


In 2023, the Laureate Listening Project was migrated to Tacoma Public Library's archives. You can listen to the recordings here