Houston crafts artsy search for city's next poet laureate
The new year will bring a new poet laureate to Houston. Who will it be? That's yet to be decided, and so the City of Houston is seeking candidates who can fulfill the role.
The deadline for interested writers to apply is midnight on January 29, 2023.
Mayor Sylvester Turner , the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and the Houston Public Library (HPL) announced the search this week. Now in its 10th year, the program has seen five poets laureate selected by Houston's mayor.
Each poet laureate completes a signature project during his or her appointment. The current poet laureate, Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean, is recording Space City Mixtape – a mixture of spoken word narratives of Houston residents set to music by Russell Guess slated for release February 2023.
During a two-year appointment, the poet laureate makes several guest appearances at special events in addition to creating the signature project. The poet laureate will receive an honorarium of $20,000 through the City Initiative Grant Program of the City of Houston and serve from April 2023 through April 2025.
“For the past decade, our poet laureates have reached into the hearts of our residents to find the soul of Houston and to be inspired by them,” said Turner in a press release announcing the search. “We are looking for the next poet laureate who will continue on the work of those before them and bring the position of the Houston poet laureate to new heights.”
The Houston Poet Laureate Selection Committee is made up of a group of poets, scholars, literary experts, and community representatives. The group will assist in the selection process. Non-voting members include Victor Ancheta of MOCA and Justin Bogert of HPL.
Submissions are welcome from poets, authors, writers, and spoken word artists. Those wishing to apply can find guidelines and more online.