Urbana's Poet Laureate Program
About the Poet Laureate Program
In April of 2019, the City of Urbana’s Mayor’s Office and the Urbana Arts & Culture Program were proud to announce the inaugural Poet Laureate Program for the City of Urbana. Now in its third cycle, the City's Poet Laureate Program celebrates poetry by recognizing a resident poet who honors and serves our diverse community and elevates the importance of the creative writing art form through sharing their work with Urbana residents. "The Poet Laureate acts as an advocate for poetry, language, and the arts," said Rachel Lauren Storm, past Arts & Culture Coordinator, "The selected poet creates a unique artistic legacy by conducting outreach activities, special programs, and presentations of individual works with support from our arts program." (See what inaugural Poet Laureate Will Reger achieved during his tenure here.) This cycle, Urbana Arts and Culture Program welcomes nominations and applications.
Urbana Arts & Culture Program's Poet Laureates to date:
- William Reger 2019-2020: Read Will Reger's Bio.
- Ashantil Files 2021-2022: Read Ashanti Files Bio.
- Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure 2022-2023: Read Ja Nelle's Bio and press release.
About the Youth Poet Laureate Program
The inaugural Youth Poet Laureate Program celebrates Urbana's youth by sponsoring an Urbana teen poet (ages 13 - 18) who serves as a youth ambassador for poetry and utilizes poetry as a means for civic leadership, artistic excellence, and social engagement.
Urbana's Youth Poet Laureate Program joins the National Youth Poet Laureate Program (YPL) network through Urban Word with programs in more than 50 cities, states and counties across the United States, collaborating with leading national literary organizations including the Library of Congress, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Foundation, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. "The Youth Poet Laureate Program is one of the nation's most important civic movements of this genearation. The YPLs are a collective of not only brilliant young writers but also deeply committed, young civic leaders working to improve their communities," said Dr. Camea Davis, National Youth Poet Laureate Director. Urbana's Youth Poet Laureate will be eligible to apply for the 2022 National Youth Poet Laureate Competition.
Urbana Arts & Culture Program's Youth Poet Laureate
- Danyla Nash - Youth Poet Laureate 2022-2023
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