Arlington Seeks 2020-2022 Poet Laureate Applications

Published on February 06, 2020

Arlington County is seeking an advocate for poetry and the literary arts as applications are now being accepted for a Poet Laureate for the 2020-2022 term.

The selected poet laureate will advance Arlingtonians' consciousness and appreciation of poetry in its written and spoken forms. He or she will represent Arlington County's commitment to fostering a creative environment that encourages collaboration, innovation and community participation. This program builds upon the successful term of the inaugural Poet Laureate, Katheryn E. Young (2016-2018).

The Open Call for the 2020 Poet Laureate is now active, with a deadline of March 24, 2020, at 5 p.m. The poet laureate's two-year term is set to begin July 1, 2020.

Applications are ONLY accepted through

The Poet Laureate will build on Arlington County's well-received literary programs (including the Moving Words Poetry Competition, now in its 20th year), bringing poetry to a wider audience and strengthening Arlington's place in the region's rich literary community. The Poet Laureate program is managed as a partnership between the Division of Cultural Affairs in Arlington Economic Development (AED) and Arlington Public Libraries.

"Poetry is a dynamic form, taking the language of its time and pushing its expressive limits. And social media is changing the way we use language," said Michelle Isabelle-Stark, director of the Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development. "It's now easier than ever to write and share poems. Our new Poet Laureate will work with our community to awaken the poet in all of us."

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, reside in Arlington during the time of application and for the duration of the appointment, and must demonstrate a track record of experience publishing and/or presenting original poetry within poetry journals, magazines, websites, and/or programs that are not predominantly self-curated, personal websites, or personal blogs. Arlington County staff, Board Members and Commission members are not eligible to apply. Former Arlington County Poets Laureate may reapply after one completed term out of office. Full eligibility requirements and terms are available online.

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility by staff from Arlington Public Libraries and Cultural Affairs. Eligible applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including staff, literary professionals and well-regarded poets from the region. The top candidates will be interviewed in person before a final selection is made.

Laureate to receive honorarium

The selected Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term and receive an honorarium of $1,500 per year to fulfill the duties of the post. Additional funds of up to $500 per year will be available for materials and other approved costs associated with the community engagement programs the Poet Laureate facilitates. The Poet Laureate will sign a contract with Arlington County outlining his/her roles and responsibilities as an independent contractor. Poems written for Arlington County will remain the property of the poet, but Arlington County will have the right to use the poems; any publication of the poems elsewhere will note that the poem is an original work written for Arlington County.The selected Poet Laureate will be named in a public ceremony and have their name added to the plaque of Poets Laureate at Courthouse Plaza.

For additional details, including specific duties, eligibility requirements, selection process and more, visit the Poet Laureate page.

Questions about this Call to Poets? Contact Dan Brady, Literary Specialist at

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