What is a Poet Laureate?
Arlington County’s Poet Laureate serves as an advocate for poetry and the literary arts and works to advance Arlingtonians’ consciousness and appreciation of poetry in its written and spoken forms. The Poet Laureate represents Arlington’s commitment to fostering a creative environment that encourages collaboration, innovation, and community participation.
What are the Arlington County Poet Laureate’s roles and responsibilities?
During each year of his or her two year term, the Poet Laureate will:
- Write at least two original poems in honor of occasions of special civic significance and present the poems at public readings
- Officiate at up to three County special events, as needed, by sharing an original work or presenting others’ words of reflection at civic events
- Facilitate two community engagement programs, working with Arlington Public Library and Arlington Cultural Affairs, to engage the public with poetry and the literary arts and bring poetry to a wider audience
- Serve as a juror for the annual Moving Words Poetry competition and contribute one poem to be displayed on Arlington’s ART Buses along with the winning poems
Can I schedule the Poet Laureate to appear at my event or read to my group?
The Poet Laureate’s compensation covers the time spent on the duties listed above. The County is not able to cover the costs of the Poet Laureate appearing at additional events. If you would like to request the Poet Laureate to read or speak to your group or be a part of a program, please make your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Details including availability, scheduling, and compensation should be discussed directly with the Poet Laureate.
The County is also preparing a list of additional Arlington-based poets who have indicated interest in presenting or reading to groups, conducting workshops, and making other appearances at events. When this list is available it will be posted here. Please be aware that poets on this list cannot be compensated by the County for making appearances requested by groups or individuals. Providing speaking fees or other compensation to poets for reading or presenting is strongly recommended whenever possible; paying artists for their work advances the arts and helps artists continue to be a part of our community and enrich our lives. Scheduling and compensation must be arranged directly with the poet.
Who is Arlington’s current Poet Laureate?
Arlington’s current Poet Laureate is Katherine E. Young, the first individual to serve in this capacity. Young is the author of Day of the Border Guards (University of Arkansas Miller Williams Prize Series, 2014), which was named one of Split This Rock’s “eagerly anticipated” picks for 2014, one of Beltway Poetry’s “Best Books of 2014″ and an Honorable Mention for the North Carolina Poetry Society’s Brockman-Campbell Award. Young’s poems, translations and reviews have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, The Iowa Review and many other publications. Young is also the translator of Two Poems by Inna Kabysh; her translations of Russian and Russophone authors have won prizes in international competitions and been published widely in the U.S. and abroad; several have been made into short films. Young is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts translation fellow.
Where can I read the Poet Laureate’s work?
A sampler of Katherine E. Young’s poems is available on her website. Her latest book Day of the Border Guards can be purchased from University of Arkansas Press and is available to borrow through Arlington Public Library.
Read Katherine’s first poem written for Arlington County as Poet Laureate entitled Women’s Work and presented at Libby Garvey’s swearing-in ceremony on December 13, 2016. Or watch a video of Katherine reading the poem.
Read Columbia Pike Blues, an original poem written by Katherine E. Young for the 2017 Columbia Pike Blues Festival.
How was the Poet Laureate selected?
Arlington’s first poet laureate competition garnered many competitive submissions, with candidates needing to be at least 18 years of age and residents of the County. Entries were reviewed by Cultural Affairs and Library staff and Grace Cavalieri, award-winning poet, playwright and host of “The Poet and the Poem” radio program and podcast presented by the Library of Congress. Poets were required to submit sample poems, a statement of interest, and a resume. Finalists were selected and interviewed in person before a final selection was made.
Who runs the Poet Laureate program?
The Poet Laureate program is managed as a partnership between the Division of Cultural Affairs in Arlington Economic Development and Arlington Public Library. It is funded partially through the generosity of the Friends of the Library.
Who do I contact for more information about the Poet Laureate program?
For information or questions about the Poet Laureate program please contact Jim Byers, Marketing Director for Arlington Cultural Affairs at Jbyers@arlingtonva.us or 703-228-1847. To contact the Poet Laureate directly email email@example.com .