I have some exciting news to share. The City of Elgin recently named its first Poet Laureate to increase artistic expression in the form of poetry throughout the city. A selection committee was formed, applications were reviewed and a winner was chosen. Yours Truly was chosen to serve as Elgin’s first Poet Laureate. I’ll serve a two year term that officially began Jan. 1, 2019, and end in 2020. The Chicago Tribune covered the naming ceremony. You can read the article here. (Disregard the error of my home state. I’m from Alambama, not Mississippi. )
Poet Laureate first began on a national level. Dating back to the mid-1930s, Archer M. Huntington established an endowment for such a position in the Library of Congress. The original title was “Consultant of Poetry to the Library of Congress.” In 1986, the name was switched to “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.” Poet Laureates have had various approaches to their roles from speaking in schools to organizing literary festivals. The U.S. Poet Laureate has a national focus. The current U.S. Poet Laureate is Tracey K. Smith, who is one of my favorite poets. Many states have named Poet Laureates as well. My position is on the City level.
As Elgin’s Poet Laureate, I hope to create a bridge between poetry and the everyday and make it more accessible for the average person. I plan to do writing workshops in schools and senior citizen centers. I have more ideas in formation and as details are more firmed, you’ll be among the first to hear about them. I’m honored to serve in this position. I’m blessed to be the first.