In 2004, then Councilman Ludwig Gaines proposed the designation of a Poet Laureate for the City of Alexandria. In response, a steering committee of citizens and City staff was established to develop a protocol for selecting a Poet Laureate. On April 25, 2006, City Council received the proposal submitted by the steering committee. Following a public hearing on May 20, 2006, City Council unanimously approved the establishment of the Poet Laureate program.
The role of the City's Poet Laureate is to promote appreciation of poetry as an art form; to encourage creative writing and reading of all forms of literature; and to promote literacy through poetry. The Poet Laureate serves a three year term.
Jean Elliot, Poet Laureate, 1979-1999
Alexandria's Poet Laureate 2013-2016
Tori Lane Kovarik is a poet,
artist, speaker, and educator living and working in Alexandria, Virginia. A
year after graduating from Christopher Newport University with a BA in English,
she began focusing on writing and working on interdisciplinary projects that
include visual art, dance and music. Out of that work, Tori has
multiple solo performances and readings and taken part in numerous
collaborative projects, including For the Waking Dead, a zine series she
spearheaded to raise awareness and support for sexual trauma victims. She has
also put out a limited edition handmade poetry collection about teaching called
She Liked Daisies Best and published two poetry collections Falling
Season and The
Beautiful Ruins. Tori dedicates her time to developing her personal
craft, working with assault victims and teaching preschool art and science.
News about her work and her blog can be found at www.tlanekovarik.com.
Tori was appointed by City Council on April 9 as part of a National Poetry Month celebration.
Tori is the third Poet Laureate for Alexandria since City Council re-established the role in 2006.
Photo courtesy of Sally Brewer Photography
2015 DASHing Words in Motion Poets Named:
City of Alexandria Office of the Arts and the Alexandria Transit Company joined
forces to host a poetry contest “DASHing Words in Motion.” The poetry
contest encouraged quality writing by writers and poets 16 years or older, who
lived, worked or studied in the City of Alexandria.
poets were selected from forty-five submissions. Tori Lane, Poet
Laureate, City of Alexandria and the winning poets: Teddie Dyson, Les Friedman,
Miles Liss, Wendi Kaplan, Mercedes Mill, and Robin
J. Moscati, will have their poems published inside the DASH buses and Trolleys
in April and May.
For more information about the “DASHing Words in Motion” project, the Poet Laureate Program or other programs of the Office of the Arts visit: alexandriava.gov/arts or call 703.746.5588.
Drips and Drops
written for Alexandria Earth Day – April 20, 2013
one more drop to make the flower open,
open wide it’s petal lips
and breathe the world in.
A few more drops to grow the tree
and the child climbing it’s branches,
moving up into the possibilities
and someday out into the world,
a world built on the simple drips
and drops of water that sustain, maintain,
today reminded of its name Important,
simple, complex, abundant, scarce,
the most precious Important we have,
bundled in drips and drops,
in lakes where skipped rocks plop
and in each person filled up with it
bottom to top.
–T.Lane, April 2013
An Old Town
I’ve taken to walking the little historic city at dusk,
feeling the cracks and ripples through my soles,
perspiring a bit in the tentative humidity of middle Spring.
Smokers cling to their outpost corners
and I breathe deeply of a private history as I pass.
On waterfront benches sit the pairs,
two by hand holding two,
as if they’d just emerged from the ark today,
not yet set about to repopulating a barren world
I come here to wipe the slate clean,
forget a little, remember a bit
and distinguish between the two –
what’s a crack and what’s a ripple
that holds promise of new waves.
Drawn here, weakly in charcoal on a page,
easily smeared, distorted.
Drawn here by what flickers in the water’s ripples,
the few lights across the way
from my waterfront bench seat –
the solitude I keep with headphones plugged into ears
to drown out present time so I can reach back through the cracks
and ride a ripple for a moment in my soul.
–T.Lane, May 2013