A Place For Poetry

Tacoma’s Poet Laureate Program

Influential American poet, Walt Whitman, could have been complimenting Tacoma when he wrote, “To have great poets there must be great audiences too.”

It is here the solitary, personal art of writing poems has grown to become an entire city’s celebration of all things poetry by putting a bona fide Tacoma Poet Laureate program in place.

What began as an Urban Grace Church’s brainchild to appoint a “spokes-poet” to better promote poetry in the local community in 2008 has evolved into a City-awarded role for a savvy Tacoma wordsmith. In an effort to keep expanding the program by seizing the opportunity to share the Poet Laureate’s talents and affecting a positive impact on the community, the Tacoma Arts Commission has teamed up with Urban Grace—now deemed the respected founding partner of the Poet Laureate program.

Tacoma’s former Poet Laureates are writer and poet, Tammy Robacker (2010-2011): poet and professor, William Kupinse (2008-2009): and spoken word artist, Antonio Edwards, Jr. (2009-2010).

The Tacoma Arts Commission selected Josie Emmons Turner as the 2011-2013 Poet Laureate for the City of Tacoma.

Over the next two years, Emmons Turner will provide free poetry workshops, public readings, participate in Art at Work: Tacoma Arts month, held each November the honored poet will help produce the 2013 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.

Information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program is available at tacomaculture.org/arts/PoetLaureate.asp