Dallas seeks poetry-writing candidates for official Poet Laureate gig
Dallas poets, sharpen your pencils (do poets write poems with pencils?): Dallas is seeking applicants for the next Poet Laureate.
This is the poet laureate program launched in 2021 by the Dallas Public Library, the Office of Arts & Culture and Deep Vellum, to recognize exemplary poetry and the poet's role in sharing poetry with the greater community.
Current Dallas Poet Laureate Joaquin Zihuatanejo was named the first Dallas Poet Laureate in April 2022. But soon his reign will end, as a Dallas Poet Laureate only holds the position for two years.
The Dallas Poet Laureate is charged with engaging diverse voices, activating the community and broadening perspectives in shaping and furthering literary arts and culture through creative expression.
That may sound like a cushy gig, but the Dallas Poet Laureate’s job duties also include:
- collecting literary works that commemorate Dallas
- organizing literary workshops, classes and events at libraries and other sites
- working with the Express Yourself! Youth Poetry Competition
- other efforts to excite discussion, exchange and participation in poetry, engaging readers in the culture of the written and spoken word in Dallas.
In exchange, the Poet Laureate receives a $20,000 honorarium, and Deep Vellum will publish a collection of their work.
The program is funded by the Friends of Dallas Public Library, Inc, the Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation, Office of Arts & Culture and Deep Vellum.
In his first year, Zihuatanejo has written and performed original poems for city events, led poetry workshops at schools, finished a collection of poems, and held regular artist-in-residence office hours at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library.
"Not so every once in a while, an opportunity is given to an artist that amplifies their own work and the genre they feel so passionately about," Zihuatanejo says in a very poetic-sounding statement. "This has been my experience serving as the inaugural Dallas Poet Laureate for the City of Dallas."
"One of my goals as the inaugural Dallas Poet Laureate was to lay the foundation for future Dallas Poet Laureates," he says. "To let the city, our city, know that we exist. To let organizations and schools in our city know that we can bring our talents to their businesses and campuses…I truly feel like I have succeeded in doing this."
For those seeking to replace him, Zihuatanejo will host two informational meetings at the Central Library:
- Wednesday, July 5 at 5 pm
- Saturday, July 8 at 1 pm
Interested poets must apply online by December 15. The poet laureate will be appointed in April 2024. For complete guidelines and to apply, visit