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Chicago Announces First-Ever Poet Laureate Program to Celebrate City’s Literary Arts

Chicago Announces First-Ever Poet Laureate Program to Celebrate City’s Literary Arts

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, in partnership with the Chicago Public Library (CPL), the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and the Poetry Foundation, are proud to announce the creation of the Chicago Poet Laureate program.
The program comes from the advocacy of the city’s creative and civic communities. It aims to increase awareness of Chicago’s historic contributions to the literary arts while celebrating and honoring the efforts of Chicago’s working artists.

“Chicago has always been a city full of talented and renowned storytellers and artists,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “The creation of the Chicago Poet Laureate program will foster a new bond between the City and the creative community that supports artists while enriching the culture of our city. I look forward to selecting a Poet Laureate who will serve and strengthen our city’s literary and creative communities.”

The Chicago Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term and be awarded a grant of $50,000 for the commissioning of new poems and to create a public program series, including programs for youth and students. The Poet Laureate will serve as an ambassador for the city’s literary and creative communities.

Chicagoans are invited to submit their nominations for Poet Laureate through January 18, 2023. The nominee can be a poet in either written or spoken traditions. To nominate a poet, complete the nomination form available at this link.

“We are honored to be launching the first-ever Chicago Poet Laureate program to recognize and celebrate the civic importance of literature, poetry, and spoken word,” shared DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “This program aims to support the creation of poetry and other literary forms, inspiring generations of critical thinkers, writers, and storytellers to come.”


After January 18th, all nominees will be reviewed according to the eligibility criteria. Those who are eligible will be invited to apply. To view eligibility criteria, visit

The Chicago Poet Laureate will be formally appointed in Spring 2023. In April, which is National Poetry Month, the Laureate will present work as part of the Chicago Public Library’s annual Poetry Fest.

“Everyday the Chicago Public Library aims to connect and inspire our city,” said CPL Commissioner Chris Brown. “Working with the Poet Laureate, we look forward to bringing engaging new works and programs into our neighborhood libraries. This exciting new Poet Laureate program is both an acknowledgment of our city’s talented creators and an opportunity to amplify the importance of their contributions.”

“The Poetry Foundation is thrilled to support efforts to establish a Chicago Poet Laureate program to recognize the role of poets in Chicago, where poetry has a rich and meaningful legacy. It’s exciting to imagine all the ways a poet can help illuminate the beauty and challenges we face, while also helping craft a promising future through poetry,” said Michelle Boone, President of the Poetry Foundation.

Chicago Public Library

Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment, and knowledge through innovative services, programs, and technology. Through its 81 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits, and programs for children, teens, and adults. For more information, please call 312-747-4300 or visit To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter (@chipublib), Facebook (Chicago Public Library), or Instagram (@chicagopubliclibrary).