Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids

About the Program

The Poet Laureate is an 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.


The Grand Rapids Poet Laureate has a love of and commitment to poetry. They are passionate about acting as an ambassador of poetry and have a strong desire to engage Grand Rapidians of all ages and from all walks of life in projects and programs.

Current Poet Laureate

Ericka “Kyd Kane” Thompson is a self-taught, multi-disciplined visual artist, poet and, most importantly, beacon of peace and love; born and raised on Grand Rapids southeast side.

For Kyd, creativity has always been a source of joy, an origin for clarity and a means for survival. Through childhood trauma, adulthood pain and everything in between, each creation allows her to fill holes, to feel whole, to feel real and to connect with others. Kyd uses self expression to generate social dialogue about the good and bad of the human experience, by exploring themes such as; poverty, privilege, gentrification, resilience and identity through community conversation, poem, installation, video, and photography. 

Kyd’s work has taken her to stages, institutes, galleries and theatres including the Detroit Masonic Temple, the Michigan State Capitol building, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Unity Center of Peace in Chapel Hill, NC, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and SiTE:LAB, among others. Her voice has been featured on NPR, WYCE Electric Poetry, TEDx, and on the intros, interludes and outros of various musical artists from all over the country.

You can find her intentionally connecting with the community as the co-host of Creston Vibes: a themed open mic series, sparking conversation with the “Challenge Privilege” movement and engaging young people as a teaching artist with The Diatribe Inc

Kyd believes that her art has the power to generate vibrations that inspire, heal, challenge, affirm and provoke. She’s grateful for the opportunity to live a life filled with passion and purpose.


The Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids program is supported with funds from the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation.