ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the launch of a new Poet Laureate program in partnership with the Howard County Arts Council and the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo). As an artistic leader in the county, the Poet Laureate will act as an advocate for poetry, literature, and the arts and contribute to Howard County’s poetic and literary legacy through public readings and participation in civic events. Information on the program and application can be found here.
“Howard County is a national leader in celebrating and championing arts, culture, literature, and opportunity in our community. As we elevate the role of poetry in Howard County, I am excited to launch our inaugural Poet Laureate program,” said Ball. “I am grateful to the Howard County Arts Council and HoCoPoLitSo for their partnership and vision in developing this program and creative position for the benefit of our residents.”
The role of the Howard County Poet Laureate is to elevate poetry in the consciousness of Howard County residents and to help celebrate the literary arts. The Poet Laureate is an honorary two-year position in service to the community. The Poet Laureate shall be formally appointed by the County Executive, acting on a recommendation determined through an artistic and community panel selection process coordinated by HoCoPoLitSo and the Howard County Arts Council.
“The Arts Council is thrilled to partner with the Office of County Executive Calvin Ball and HoCoPoLitSo to establish the Howard County Poet Laureate program and amplify the importance of creative expression through the written and spoken word,” said Coleen West, Executive Director of the Howard County Arts Council. “In addition to drawing attention to the County’s rich literary arts legacy, the program will celebrate the joy and power of poetry, promote literacy and the work of local poets, and engage our civic leaders and communities through public readings at events across the county.”
In addition to the Poet Laureate position, Ball also announced the creation of a Youth Poet Laureate position which will be available to youth poets between the ages of 14 and 22. The application for the Youth Poet Laureate position will open in the Spring, with an appointment effective for the 2024-2025 academic year.
"From its founding in 1974, the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo) has sought to expand the audience and impact of the literary arts by connecting writers with all segments of our community, among them 19 National Poets Laureate and 8 Maryland Poets Laureate including Howard County's own Lucille Clifton,” said HoCoPoLitSo Co-Chair Tim Singleton. “The Howard County Poet Laureate Program joins this legacy and will further this mission by advancing poetic achievement through activities and events that have the power to enlarge human empathy and understanding."
The first Poet Laureate will serve from April 2024 through March 2026 and will receive a stipend of $5,000 per year. The application is currently open and will close on January 9, 2024. Learn more about the Howard County Poet Laureate Program and review the application guidelines here.