Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids


Search for the next Poet Laureate

The Grand Rapids Public Library is currently accepting applications for the 6th Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids. The Poet Laureate is a celebrant and ambassador of poetry for the City of Grand Rapids, creating programs and projects to foster the writing and reading of poetry by the public. During the three year term, the Poet Laureate engages the community through three distinct projects. A $1,000 annual stipend is awarded to the selected Poet Laureate to support their work.


Applicants must demonstrate a love of and commitment to poetry. The ideal candidate is passionate about acting as an ambassador of poetry and has a strong desire to engage Grand Rapidians of all ages and from all walks of life in projects and programs. Applicants must be residents of Kent County.


The Poet Laureate selection committee will review all applicants and select a candidate in February 2017, with the term beginning in April 2017.

To Apply

Submit the following information in PDF format ONLY to poetlaureate@grpl.org.

  • Cover letter with contact information, including email and phone.
  • Resume or CV that includes publication and/or performance credits.
  • Ten pages of original poetry (published or unpublished) as a sample of work.
  • Written statement (of no more than 500 words) detailing the types of projects you would like to accomplish, and how.
  • Names and contact information of two or three individuals who can speak to how you would be successful in the role of Poet Laureate
  • Applicants may submit links to online readings of their poetry (no more than ten minutes in total).

Applications are due Tuesday, January 31

Foundation-out-PMS690Dyer-Ives Foundation Poetry Fund


Current Poet Laureate

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

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. His most recent volume of poetry, Sunshine Wound, was published in 2015.

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.”

Current Poet Laureate:

L.S. Klatt

L.S. Klatt

Local Poetry Resources:

Annual Kent County Dyer Ives Poetry Competition

Electric Poetry from WYCE

Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters

Through the 3rd Eye – Michigan and Great Lakes Poetry Journal