The city's searching for the next Poet Laureate

Posted: September 06, 2013

WANT TO be Philadelphia's next poet laureate? The city's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy released application materials yesterday.

The post has been held since January 2012 by award-winning poet and retired Temple University professor Sonia Sanchez. Her term ends in December.

"We could not have had a more perfect inaugural poet laureate than Sonia Sanchez," said Gary Steuer, the city's chief cultural officer. "Her continued work as an advocate for peace during her term has solidified the commitment to both poetry and community involvement as essential qualifications for the role of poet laureate. I am so excited to now be able to give another poet the chance to serve in this important capacity, building on the base established by Sonia Sanchez, and showcasing the creative, civic-minded talent of Philadelphia's writers."

As poet laureate, Sanchez continued her work as an advocate for peace, which was spotlighted by the "Peace is a Haiku Song" interactive public-art project in partnership with First Person Arts and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and the "Peace is a Haiku Song" mural at Broad and Christian streets. She also mentored the city's youth poet laureate.

So, will the second poet laureate have some big shoes to fill?

"I don't want to scare off the second person, but I think for any significant position, it's always hard, harder certainly being the second, because the first is the first," said Mayor Nutter. "I think it's just exciting that we have one and that someone may actually want to be the second."

Applications must be submitted online by Sept. 30. To apply visit The two-year term begins in January.

On Twitter: @Jan_Ransom


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