Minneapolis begins search for first-ever poet laureate 

Open Book in downtown Minneapolis
The Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis is a literary hub, with three non-profit literary tenants: Milkweed Editions, the Loft Literary Center and Minnesota Center for Book Arts. The Loft will partner with Minneapolis in its first-ever poet laureate program
Courtesy of Open Book

Minneapolis will have its first official poet laureate next year. In a news release yesterday, the city announced a program that will seek out its first official literary and cultural ambassador.  

“I am thrilled about our investment in a poet laureate and our deepened commitment to expand and infuse arts and culture into this enterprise work, in connection with residents and our communities,” said City Council President Andrea Jenkins in the news release.  

The city’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Department is partnering with the Loft Literary Center on the program. The city will designate the poet laureate, while the Loft will oversee the program and application process. 

“I think it’s like an amazing opportunity for our community to see how our literary culture can really be connected to that community,” said Lucia LoTempio, a Loft staffer who will manage the project.

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The laureate will serve for a year-long term starting Jan. 1, 2024. According to the news release, the role of the poet laureate is intended to “share the transformative art of poetry through community and educational opportunities.”  

“With a poet laureate, having civic duty be a really big part of that role was something that I thought was really important,” LoTempio said, adding that the Loft’s mission is to advance the power of writers.  

“I really think the poet laureate program aligns perfectly with this mission.” 

The Poet Laureate will be involved in city ceremonies, teach classes at the Loft and develop a civic project, for which they will receive funding. They will also receive an honorarium of $8,000. 

“Through this innovative new partnership, the Poet Laureate will help educate and uplift our community in a new and inspiring way — through the power of words,” said Mayor Jacob Frey in the release.  

Guidelines and eligibility requirements for entering consideration to be part of Minneapolis’s inaugural poet laureate program can be found at the Loft’s website.  

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.