Lansing is recognizing the power of poetry within the community by appointing the city's first-ever poet laureate this spring. The esteemed poet will be selected through an application process, with applications currently being accepted up to 5 p.m. on March 3, 2017.
The idea for appointing a poet laureate to engage the tri-county region in the literary arts rose from a coordinated effort among the Lansing Poetry Club
, the RCAH Center for Poetry
at Michigan State University, and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership
. Organizers say the program will promote poetry as an art form, expand access to the literary arts, connect the community to poetry, and showcase poetry as a literary voice that contributes to a greater sense of place.
"Lansing already has a thriving and successful arts and cultural community that is attracting and retaining talent—and that's something that makes us a premier community that is international, diverse and sophisticated," says Josh Holliday, tri-county development and placemaking manager with LEAP. "It's time to now place an artist in front of the community to show what we're doing in an engaging, interactive way."
The Lansing Poet Laureate will serve a two-year appointment and receive a $2,000 per year stipend from LEAP. The poet laureate will serve as an ambassador for poetry within the community, and offer instructional workshops and readings with the public. The city's poet laureate will also have the opportunity to shape the scope of work to reflect personal interests, skills and abilities.
"Poetry is one of the oldest and most powerful art forms," says Ruelaine Stokes, president of the Lansing Poetry Club. "It helps us see the complexity and glory of human existence and transcend our day-to-day struggles. The Lansing Poetry Club is delighted to co-sponsor the new Lansing Poet Laureate, who will work to engage the community in creative approaches to the literary arts."
Plans are to have the city's poet laureate selected and announced in April, and a first reading at an Arts Night Out
event in May. Applicants must be an Ingham, Eaton or Clinton County resident; must be at least 18 years old, and must be an experienced or skilled poet dedicated to producing poetry in textual or oral traditions. A workshop for assistance with the application process will take place Feb. 5 from 3-5 p.m. at MICA Gallery
, 1210 Turner St., Lansing. Applications are available online here.
Source: Josh Holliday, Tri-County Development and Placemaking Manager, LEAP
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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