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Apply Now for Tacoma Poet Laureate Program

Apply Now for Tacoma Poet Laureate Program
Jan. 21, 2015

Gwen Schuler, Media and Communications, gschuler@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5160
Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054

Applications Now Being Accepted for Tacoma Poet Laureate Program

The Tacoma Arts Commission is now accepting applications for the sixth annual Tacoma Poet Laureate program. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 2, 2015.

The individual selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for two years – from May 2015 to April 2017 – and receive a $2,000 stipend for advancing and actively contributing to Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects. This individual will also participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October and help produce the 2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony announcing the next Tacoma Poet Laureate. 

“The Tacoma Poet Laureate program showcases local talent and provides access to the literary arts throughout our city and beyond,” said Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride. “We are excited to see how the next poet laureate continues to engage the diversity of Tacoma’s citizenry.” 

Eligibility extends to literary artists who live in Pierce County and are actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and practicing artists, dedicated to producing poetry in any form, genre or style on a regular basis. Other eligibility requirements apply. 

Applicants are encouraged to attend a free workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 5:30 – 7 p.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St., 9th floor, Visibility Center). The workshop will address questions about the application and selection process. Current poet laureate Lucas Smiraldo and former poet laureates Josie Emmons Turner and William Kupinse will talk about their experiences and how they each addressed the community engagement aspect of the position. Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to bring a piece of their own poetry to share at the end of the workshop.

The Tacoma Arts Commission and Smiraldo will host a poetry event at which the winner of this year's Poet Laureate competition will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Friday, May 1, from 6 – 8:30 p. m. at the B Sharp Coffee House (706 Court C in downtown Tacoma). 

The application and information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program, which was founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church and transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program in 2011, are available at cityoftacoma.org/poet. Requests for hard copy applications can be directed to Cultural Arts Specialist Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5191.