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Lansing Poet Laureate Program Seeks Qualified Area Poets

Application Period is Open for the Lansing Area’s Third Poet Laureate

Picture of one of eight poems etched in sidewalks across Lansing, Mich. produced through the Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Project

One of eight poems etched in sidewalks across Lansing, Mich. produced through the Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Project.

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), the Lansing Poetry Club, and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) Center for Poetry at Michigan State University are seeking applicants for the 2022-2024 Lansing Poet Laureate position. The Lansing Poet Laureate engages the tri-county community in the literary arts to promote poetry as an art form, expand access to the literary arts, connect the community to poetry, and showcase poetry as a literary voice that contributes to a greater sense of place.

As an ambassador for poetry throughout the tri-county region, the Lansing Poet Laureate serves a 2-year term and receives a $2,000 yearly stipend from LEAP. In 2022, the Poet Laureate program will welcome Lansing’s third Poet Laureate, following two exceptional past Poet Laureates, Dennis Hinrichsen (2017-2019) and Laura Apol (2019-2021).

The appointed Poet Laureate will help shape the scope of work to reflect personal interests, skills and abilities through projects that leave a tangible impression, product, program or placemaking initiative of the work accomplished. One example of the visible community impact of a Poet Laureate project is the Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Project created by inaugural Lansing Poet Laureate Dennis Hinrichsen.

Lansing’s second Poet Laureate, Laura Apol, faced unique challenges carrying out the Poet Laureate’s duties. Ten months in her term, Apol—an associate professor of literacy and curriculum in the Michigan State University College of Education—was forced to pivot in the face of COVID-19 in addressing her approach to engaging the community in the literary arts. Through one of her projects, “Poetry in Place,” she encouraged poetry lovers to send in video recordings of their favorite poems and then shared them via social media. Not only did this project connect the community during a time when many felt disconnected, but it also reframed the ability to interact with poetry in a different medium and reinforced the importance of community placemaking projects like the Lansing Poet Laureate program.

For nearly six years, the Lansing Poet Laureate program has been an essential addition to LEAP’s strategic placemaking efforts, which intentionally enhance talent and business attraction and retention efforts in the region by highlighting and expanding access to the wealth of arts and culture present in the regional community.

Applicants to the Lansing Poet Laureate program must reside in Clinton, Eaton or Ingham county, be at least 18 years old and be an experienced poet dedicated to producing poetry as an art form both in person and through the use of traditional methods and social media.

LEAP is accepting applications for the 2022-2024 Lansing Poet Laureate until 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, at www.purelansing.com/poetlaureate.