Arts Commission begins search for Spokane's first Poet Laureate

Karen Mobley, I Spokane Arts Fund, 509.321.9614,; Mariesa Stokes, I Spokane Arts Commission, 509.703.7158,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

SPOKANE, WA – The Spokane Arts Commission, on behalf of the greater Spokane region, seeks nominations for the position of Spokane Poet Laureate. The person selected will join the Arts Commission in promoting and supporting an appreciation of literary arts throughout the greater Spokane community.

Purpose of the Poet Laureate Program

The purpose of the Poet Laureate will be to articulate what it's like to be a part of Spokane, to reflect our people and the essence of life in the greater Spokane region. The person selected will help us come together as a community to express ourselves and share our vitality and unique qualities with the world outside Eastern Washington.

As both a local resident and a distinguished poet, the Poet Laureate will represent and celebrate the rich literary history and the diversity of Eastern Washington. As a spokesperson for the area's literary community, the Poet Laureate will help reinforce the role of literature in civic life and will actively participate in ceremonial, educational and cultural activities in the community at various times throughout his or her term of service.

Goals of the Poet Laureate Program

  • Raise awareness of and appreciation for the literary arts in Eastern Washington
  • Reinforce the role of literature in civic life
  • Celebrate the essence of the people of the greater Spokane community
  • Increase focus on expressing Spokane's culture through the literary arts
  • Provide an opportunity for growth and increased exposure for the individual Poet Laureate
  • Commemorate the life of our community
  • Invite and encourage the public to discover the vitality of modern poetry
  • Broaden public perspective and help increase awareness and support of the arts

Term of Service

The Poet Laureate for Spokane is an honorary position. The individual selected will serve a two-year term beginning in October 2013, and will receive a $2,000 stipend.

Term Expectations

  • Make three public presentations at Spokane-focused events each year of the term
  • Create original works for each of those events, which may be used in other areas when appropriate
  • Serve as an advisor at upcoming events throughout the term
  • Participate in other community functions when applicable
  • Provide ongoing reading recommendations to be promoted through Spokane Arts Commission's online channels, as well as possible collaboration with the Spokane Public Library system

“When people think of Spokane, they don't naturally think of poetry,” said City Council President and Arts Fund Board Member Ben Stuckart. “Spokane does have its challenges with homelessness and the criminal justice system, but it also has a deeply-rooted history in literature and the arts dating back to the days of the original Davenport. Literary tradition has been part of our external identity and a source of community pride throughout the city's growth. Today, Spokane is home to many celebrated writers, and up-and-coming poets and authors. It's important for our residents to take the time to enjoy the arts and culture that Spokane offers, and to help keep the rich tradition alive now, and for generations to come.”


Each applicant must:

  • Be a resident of the greater Spokane community
  • Already be an established poet
  • Submit a résumé and four-to-six poems, not exceeding 10 pages in total to

Nominations will only be accepted August 1 through August 20.