Tacoma Names New Poet Laureate

Tacoma native Kellie Richardson identifies herself as a writer, an artist, and an educator. She boasts a collection of work that embodies the ways race, class, and gender intermingle while using both classic and contemporary media to express herself.

Given her body of work and her time as an adjunct faculty member at Pacific Lutheran University, it is no wonder the Tacoma Arts Commission has selected Richardson as the 2017-2019 Poet Laureate.

In her role as Poet Laureate, Richardson will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops, and other community events throughout the next two years.

“As Poet Laureate, my priority will be to support the creation of bold spaces that mirror our citizenry,” Richardson said in a statement. “I strongly believe in the power of storytelling as a means of healing and, ultimately, a way in which individuals and community find resolution despite trauma, and common ground among bitter rivals.”

Additionally, Richardson’s duties include participating in Tacoma Arts Month each October, as well as helping to produce the 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Ceremony to announce her successor.

To celebrate Richardson and draw National Poetry Month to a close, the Tacoma Arts Commission and the current Poet Laureate, Cathy Nguyễn, will host a pass-the-torch event, during which Richardson will officially be awarded the title.

The event will be held from 5-8 p.m. April 29, at the Tacoma Community College Auditorium Building 2. The building can be accessed from South 12th Street and Whitman Street, with free parking available in Lot G off South 12th Street.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to record a poem for inclusion in the Laureate Listening Project reflecting on the personal importance of a particular place in Tacoma. Limited recording spots are available, and can be reserved through Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org.

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