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Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia




Appointed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia 


3 years

POSITION OPEN:   July 21, 2018                        POSITION CLOSE:  Open until filled



The Poet Laureate is non-salaried appointed position.  

Working with the Office of the Secretary of the District of Columbia, the Poet Laureate will negotiate advance retainer and/or reimbursement for reasonable expenses for production of works and appearances on behalf of the District of Columbia agencies including but not limited to the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), the Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH), Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs (MOCA) and the Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME). 



The Poet Laureate is appointed by the Mayor as an official representative of the District of Columbia and separate from similarly titled positions created by other organizations.  The Poet Laureate will help promote DC values throughout the District, and as an official representative,  shall serve as an expert and will compose and deliver works for special events and occasions.  

With Mayor Bowser's vision of pathways to the middle class and inclusive prosperity, the Poet Laureate will provide leadership and represent the field of poetry, and as an advocate for educating the residents of all eight wards of the District of Columbia.  

The Poet Laureate will work with the Office of the Secretary of the District of Columbia, the Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH), District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) and other agencies and organizations to promote the field of poetry.  The Mayor may request the Poet Laureate create original works at official District of Columbia events.



The  duties of the Poet Laureate shall include the following:

  • Build awareness and appreciation of poetry through public readings, workshops, presentations, and other programs that he or she develops throughout the District of Columbia.
  • Serve as an advocate, chief expert and presenter of poetry, its various iterations and its readings.
  • Give readings and presentations at District events, celebrations and recognitions at the request of the Mayor.
  • Promote the field and expression of poetry (with) in the District of Columbia, and, as a representative at official ceremonies.
  • Serve as an advisor to the Mayor, the Secretary of the District of Columbia, and the Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and other boards and commissions and/or community members as custodians of identification, preservation and documentation of the significance of poetry to the culture of the District of Columbia.



  • The Mayor shall appoint Poet Laureate for a three (3) year term.  No person shall be appointed to more than two (2) consecutive terms.



  • Residency requirement – Candidates for Poet Laureate must be a bone fide resident of the District of Columbia for a minimum of ten (10) years at time of nomination, and must maintain District residency throughout his or her term.
  • Must have documented and demonstrated understanding and connections to the District of Columbia and its rich diversity in geography, communities and values.
  • Candidates must demonstrate a minimum of ten (10) years professional activity in the field of poetry, documented through publishing, teaching, public readings, and/or presentations. 




Please email with the name and contact person of the person you wish to nominate.   Please indicate if you'd like for the MOTA team to share your name as the nominator.



All interested parties must complete this application.   Please attach relevant documents, including resume and samples of works (or links to samples of works).    


For more information, please contact Steven Walker at 202-727-6101 or



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