Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids

Read Poetry Grand Rapids

L.S. Klatt and the Poet Laureate Committee announce their first project: Read Poetry Grand Rapids. The project invites local book groups to step away from their normal routine and take up a volume of poetry to discuss at one of their meetings. The Laureate recommends four books: Maurice Manning’s Bucolics, Kevin Young’s Jelly Roll, Patricia Clark’s Sunday Rising, and John Rybicki’s When All the World Is Old. Overviews of the books, along with discussion guides and Rules of Thumb for Reading Poetry, are available at the links to the right. Feel free to download these guides and let us know how your conversations go. And spread the word about the project—what better way to celebrate April, which is National Poetry Month?

Current Poet Laureate

Calvin College professor L.S. Klatt has been named the Poet Laureate of the greater Grand Rapids area for a three year term starting in April 2014.

The Poet Laureate is an ambassador for poetry, creating programs and projects to foster the writing and reading of poetry by the public. Selected by the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate Selection Committee, past Poet Laureates include Linda Nemec Foster, Patricia Clark, Rodney Torreson, and David Cope.

Klatt is a graduate of Wittenberg University and holds advanced degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, St. John’s College, and the University of Georgia, where he studied with poets Brian Henry and Kevin Young. For the past ten years, he has taught literature and creative writing at Calvin College.

His poems have appeared in Blackbird, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square, Harvard Review, New Orleans Review, The Best American Poetry 2011 and many more publications. His poetry collections have won the Juniper Prize for Poetry and the Iowa Poetry Prize. Klatt is currently working on a series of prose poems that take the names of American corporations as their titles. His new volume of poetry, Sunshine Wound, will be published at the end of 2014.

Klatt remarked, “The great vitality of a city is its speech, and yet much of what we say to one another is reckless, superfluous, or worn out. It is the task of poetry to resuscitate the tongue. As Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, I want to help us return again to the poems that articulate our aspirations and carry our cultural memory. In an age of competing discourses, I want to unify us once more around the possibilities and pleasures of words. That is what poetry has to offer.”

The new Poet Laureate will begin his three-year term at an event on Thursday, April 3 at 5:30 pm at the Main Library. The event is open to the public and a booksigning will follow the presentation.

Song of the Owashtanong:
Grand Rapids Poetry in the 21st Century

Truly a remarkable collection that brings together sixteen of the city’s most accomplished poets including Linda Nemec-Foster, G.F Korreck, Carmen Bugan, Patricia Clark, Eric Greinke, L.S. Klatt, Miriam Pederson, David Landrum, Mursalata Muhammad, Barbara Saunier, Rodney Torreson, Kim Wyngarden, Azizi Jasper, W. Todd Kaneko, and Robert Vandermolen.

Current Poet Laureate:

L.S. Klatt

L.S. Klatt

Local Poetry Resources:

Grand Rapids Poetry Conference
Through the 3rd Eye