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 Program in 2011.
2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate - Kellie Richardson
Kellie Richardson is a writer, artist, and educator born and raised in Tacoma, WA. Her work explores the intersection of race, class, and gender with specific emphasis on themes of love, loss, and longing. She employs both classical poetic forms as well as contemporary mediums such as spoken word. Her work is provocative yet accessible, powerful yet vulnerable. In addition to publishing original work, Kellie created the blog, Brown Betty, in 2012. Brown Betty exists to provide armor and inspiration for real life; a place where commerce and community intersect to cultivate healing. The blog explores the complexities of navigating the human experience, and calls its readers to continue to be inspired to endure and overcome barriers to their happiness.
Kellie is particularly inspired and called to explore the experiences of women of color, and the intersectionality of identities. In addition to teaching courses at Pacific Luthern University, Kellie has provided poetry and writing workshops to students from Bryant Montessori to Tacoma Community College. She has performed pieces for the Tacoma Art Museum, The People’s Assembly, UW Tacoma, Drunken Telegraph, The Tacoma Round, COLORED2017, and many others.
Kellie’s relationship with Tacoma is defined by transitions and metamorphosis as she has moved from student to professor, child to parent, and, the most critical progression, from onlooker to loving actor. She enters this process as a loving actor looking to continue to give to Tacoma through poetry and the gift of storytelling. As Poet Laureate, Kellie will persist in her desire to ensure literary arts are both accessible to, and representative of, the diversity in Tacoma.
If you are interested in working with Kellie Richardson or having her perform for your school, organization, or event, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 861-7722.
Laureate Listening Project
Every person has a story to tell. In this online audio anthology, community members from Tacoma and greater Pierce County reflect on the importance of a particular place in their own life through poetry. Visit the Laureate Listening Project now!
The Laureate Listening Project was conceived and organized by 2013-2015 Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo. The project is funded in part by a Spark Grant from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and by the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Arts Commission.
Interested in having your poem included in this project? Contact Lucas Smiraldo at (253) 202-3473 or email@example.com.
Past Tacoma Poets Laureate