Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash

Applications are open for local poets interested in being the next Dallas Poet Laureate.

Every two years, a poet is honored with the poet laureate title to recognize a career in writing exemplary poetry and sharing poetry with the greater community. The Dallas Poet Laureate is charged with engaging diverse voices, activating the community and broadening perspectives in shaping and furthering literary arts and culture through creative expression. 

Interested poets must apply online by Dec. 15. The poet laureate will be appointed in April 2024. For complete guidelines and to apply, visit www.dallaslibrary.org/poetry 

Current Dallas Poet Laureate Joaquin Zihuatanejo will host two informational meetings for potential laureates on July 5 at 5 p.m. and July 8 at 1 p.m. at the Central Library.

Zihuatanejo was named the first Dallas Poet Laureate in April 2022. In his first year, he wrote and performed original poems for city events, led poetry workshops at schools, finished a collection of poems and held regular artist-in-residence office hours at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library.

City of Dallas Poet Laureate Joaquín Zihuatanejo – Photo courtesy of Dallas Public Library

“Not so every once in a while, an opportunity is given to an artist that amplifies their own work and the genre they feel so passionately about,” Zihuatanejo said. “This has been my experience serving as the inaugural Dallas Poet Laureate for the City of Dallas.

“One of my goals as the inaugural Dallas Poet Laureate was to lay the foundation for future Dallas Poet Laureates,” he said. “To let the city, our city, know that we exist. To let organizations and schools in our city know that we can bring our talents to their businesses and campuses…I truly feel like I have succeeded in doing this.”

The Dallas Poet Laureate’s duties include collecting literary works that commemorate Dallas; organizing literary workshops, classes and events at libraries and other sites; working with the Express Yourself! Youth Poetry Competition; and other efforts to excite discussion, exchange and participation in poetry, engaging readers in the culture of the written and spoken word in Dallas. In exchange, the Poet Laureate will receive a $20,000 honorarium, and Deep Vellum will publish a collection of their work.

Dallas Public Library, the Office of Arts & Culture and Deep Vellum launched the new poet laureate program in June 2021 to recognize exemplary poetry and the poet’s role in sharing poetry with the greater community. The program is funded by the Friends of Dallas Public Library, Inc, the Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation, Office of Arts & Culture and Deep Vellum. 

Visit www.dallaslibrary.org/poetry for complete details on the Poet Laureate program.

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