Robin Coste Lewis, winner of the National Book Award, is the new poet laureate of the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday.
“Robin is a fearless writer whose lyricism reclaims history for people who feel forgotten, and gives voice to those who feel silenced,” Garcetti said. “Los Angeles is fortunate to be represented by such a powerful artist. She will push boundaries and challenge us to rethink our perspectives.”
The Los Angeles Poet Laureate Program is a collaboration between the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Public Library. The poet laureate serves as an official ambassador of L.A.’s arts community.
“The role of the L.A. poet laureate is two-fold: first, to celebrate and curate an ever-widening cross-city appreciation for poetry of all kinds, from all cultures and nations; second, to celebrate the rich and diverse history of Los Angeles poetry,” Lewis said.
“Poetry is high art, sure, but it is also an exceedingly accessible cultural game that anyone can play. From the elderly to prisoners, I try at all times to remind my students that the only difference between a great poet and a lousy one is practice. Poetry isn’t rocket science. It’s merely love.”
Lewis, a Compton native, is author of the award-winning collection “Voyage of the Sable Venus.” She is a writer-in-residence and provost’s fellow at the University of Southern California.
She will serve a two-year term as poet laureate, and will be awarded an annual grant of $10,000 from DCA.
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