City of Boise Announces First Poet Laureate
January 15, 2013
BOISE, ID- Boise resident Diane Raptosh has been
selected as Boise's first Poet Laureate. Ms. Raptosh is a professor
of English and the Eyck-Berringer Endowed Chair at The College of
Idaho. She is the recipient of a number of honors and awards in the
field of poetry and is the author of American Amnesiac (Etruscan
Press, 2013), among others. A search committee unanimously selected
her from the many fine poets submitted for consideration. Her depth
of experience in writing and presenting poetry, her stellar
reputation, and her compelling vision for city's first Poet
Laureate earned her the coveted position.
The Boise Poet Laureate will create and read three
new works pertinent to BOISE 150 themes of environment, enterprise,
and community at selected BOISE 150 events. The Poet Laureate will
also present a reading and discussion of work as part of National
Poetry Month in April in the Sesqui-Shop (BOISE 150 headquarters). Other
specially identified opportunities will be announced during the
Ms. Raptosh was introduced to Mayor Bieter and the
City Council at today's Council Work Session. Her first reading
will be on February 9, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Summit Auditorium
at the Boise Centre as part of a BOISE 150 event, "Placing Boise in
the American West." The event is free and open to the public.
Why a Poet Laureate for Boise?
Poet Laureates are teachers who, through poetry, help
citizens at all levels of society interpret the world and
appreciate and understand the power of language. Poetry is a
wonderful way to teach literacy. The growing number of poetry
festivals and other poetry events throughout the U.S. is evidence
that people want more poetry in their lives.
By honoring a Poet Laureate the City acknowledges
that: 1) Our city values a literate population; and 2) we have
designated a person to promote that message. Boise currently has no
programs that focus on poets or poetry, although poets are
encouraged to apply for an Arts & History grant to write and
What will the Poet Laureate do?
In brief, the Poet Laureate will develop outreach
activities that will bring the power of poetry to Boise,
particularly citizens in underserved areas. Those activities might
include readings, workshops and other literary events at
educational institutions and civic and cultural venues. The Poet
Laureate also will be called upon to present poems at ceremonial
occasions and official city events, i.e. Boise 150 commemoration
activities, Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Art & History, and
This program will be administered by the Boise City Arts & History
Department, the official sponsor of the Poet Laureate
What are goals of the Boise Poet Laureate
- Raise awareness of the power of poetry and the
- Enhance the literary arts in Boise.
- Celebrate the spirit of the people of Boise.
- Create a focal point for expressing Boise's culture
through the literary arts.
- Contribute to the continued growth of the
individual Poets Laureate.
- Promote interdisciplinary collaboration through the
- Build a body of work that commemorates the life of
- Create a unique program that will become a model
for other Idaho cities.
How many cities and states have a Poet
According to the Library of Congress, 43 states have official
state poet laureate positions (two states, Alaska and Idaho, broadened the post to "Writer
Laureate"). The District of Columbia and Santa Fe, N.M., appoint
city poets laureate.
The Department of Arts & History was
established by City Ordinance in March 2008 to enhance the Boise
community by providing leadership, advocacy, education, services,
and support for arts and history. The new Department emerged from
the former Boise City Arts Commission, which was established by
City Ordinance in 1978 as a nonprofit city agency to advise and
assist the City Council in development, coordination, promotion and
support of the arts.