Houston

Mayor Turner, Houston Public Library, And Mayor’s Office Of Cultural Affairs Announce Search For Houston’s Next Poet Laureate

Mayor’s Office Press Release

Mayor Turner, Houston Public Library, and Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Announce Search for Houston’s Next Poet Laureate

(Left to proper) MOCA Director Debbie McNulty, HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Houston’s 2019 – 2021 Poet Laureate Leslie Contreras Schwartz, and Mayor Sylvester Turner on the Poet Laureate Reception on May 20, 2019.

January 13, 2021 — Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Director of Houston Public Library (HPL), Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, are happy to announce the seek for the City of Houston’s subsequent poet laureate.



The Poet Laureate Program celebrates Houston’s wealthy tradition and variety via the work of a Houston poet who serves because the City’s ambassador for the literary arts. The Houston poet laureate’s function is to stimulate poetic impulse, foster appreciation of poetry in all its kinds, and serve Houston residents and guests with expressions of tradition via phrases.

“Right now, perhaps more than ever, Houston needs the power of community offered through written or spoken word poetry,” mentioned Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We look forward to finding and announcing our City’s fifth poet laureate, whose words will bring us together in spirit and inspire us to be resilient in the coming years.”

The City’s subsequent poet laureate will serve from April 2021 via April 2023 and obtain an honorarium of $20,000 from the City of Houston’s City Initiative Grant Program. The program is coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and HPL. The Poet Laureate Program is funded via the Hotel Occupancy Tax that’s devoted to the humanities.

Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton, Houston’s 2017-2019 Poet Laureate

“The Houston Public Library is so pleased to partner with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs again to welcome Houston’s next poet laureate. We have so many Houstonians who are passionate about poetry and community, and we encourage them to submit their poetic works to support our effort in celebrating Houston’s diversity and elevating this art form,” mentioned Dr. Lawson. “It’s a great opportunity, especially during these challenging times, to have this citywide platform for poets to share not only their invaluable talent, but also their voice.”

During a two-year appointment, the poet laureate makes a number of visitor appearances at particular occasions and completes a function project. Houston’s most up-to-date poet laureate, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, created Bayou City Broadsides, that are one-page inventive shows of traces from poems of on a regular basis Houstonians. Houston’s 2017-2019 Poet Laureate Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton created neighborhood efficiency poetry movies highlighting varied Houston neighborhoods. Houston’s 2015-2017 Poet Laureate Dr. Robin Davidson developed an anthology e-book of Houston residents’ favourite poetry, and Gwen Zepeda, Houston’s 2013-2015 poet laureate, created the Houston Poet Laureate’s social media platforms.

Dr. Robin Davidson, Houston’s 2015-2017 Poet Laureate, studying “To Speak of Rivers, after Langston Hughes” for Mayor Turner (Photo credit score: Tony Davidson), Sept 10, 2016

The Houston Poet Laureate Selection Committee, a various group of poets, students, literary specialists, and neighborhood representatives, will help within the choice course of. The group contains all poets laureate emeritus Gwen Zepeda, Dr. Robin Davidson, Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton, and Leslie Contreras Schwartz; Radu Barbuceanu of Visit Houston; Dr. Ginger Ko of Sam Houston State University; Jennifer Julian of Texas Southern University; Roderick Robinson of Public Poetry; and Harrison Guy of the Fifth Ward Cultural District. Non-voting members embrace Monique Mogilka of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and Carmen Abrego of the Houston Public Library (HPL).

The choice committee will interview finalists in March, and Mayor Turner will choose the winner. The City will announce Houston’s subsequent poet laureate in Apil to rejoice National Poetry Month.

The deadline to use is midnight on February 25, 2021. Submissions are welcome from poets, authors, writers, and spoken phrase artists.

Gwen Zepeda, Houston’s 2013-2015 poet laureate, on the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference XV in February 2020.

The tips and application portal for the Houston Poet Laureate and time period necessities could be discovered at https://www.houstontx.gov/poetlaureate.html.

For extra details about the Houston Public Library, go to www.houstonlibrary.org, Twitter @houstonlibrary, or name 832.393.1313.

For extra details about the City’s Cultural Programs, go to www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs or comply with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on Facebook or Instagram @HoustonMOCA.


This press launch was produced by the City of Houston. The views expressed listed here are the writer’s personal.

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