Mayor Murray announced today that the City is launching a Civic Poet program to celebrate Seattle’s rich literary community, while investing in the future of literary arts through community engagement. Applications to be the 2015 Civic Poet will be accepted April 16 – May 28.
“Seattle is one of the most well-read cities in the country. From libraries to book stores, from universities to literary organizations, Seattle is passionate about language,” said Mayor Murray. “The Civic Poet program celebrates our history and commitment to the written and spoken word, and the people who have given it such a place of honor in our city.”
The new two-year Civic Poet post will serve as a cultural ambassador for Seattle’s rich, multi-hued literary landscape and will represent Seattle’s diverse cultural community. In addition to five annual performances, the Civic Poet will also complete hands-on work with communities to engage constituents city-wide.
Seattle’s Civic Poet will serve a term of two years, from July 2015 to July 2017, and will receive a $10,000 stipend distributed over the two year term. Applicants must be Seattle-based and eligible to work in the U.S. and have a demonstrated interest in civic engagement and the power of the written and spoken word.
The Civic Poet program is inspired by the previous Poet Populist program instituted in 1999 by Seattle City Council member Nick Licata. The goal of the Poet Populist program was to support the practice of literary arts democracy, and promote local literary arts organizations to a general audience city-wide. The Poet Populist program was discontinued in 2008. The Civic Poet program will continue the legacy of the Poet Populist program by fostering community dialogue and engagement between the public and artists, while celebrating the literary arts.
“I thank the Mayor, Office of Arts & Culture director Randy Engstrom, and leaders of our literary community for picking up where our previous Poet Populist program left off. By combining that program’s community engagement elements with the rigor of a traditional poet laureate model, Seattle’s Civic Poet program can inspire both diverse audiences and diverse ideas,” added Councilmember Licata.
A selection panel composed of writing and literary professionals and community representatives will review materials from all applicants. Those who are selected as finalists will be invited a panel to interview for final selection.
The Civic Poet program is administered by the city’s Office of Arts & Culture. For more information, visit http://www.seattle.gov/arts/funding/civic_poet.asp.