Poet Laureate Program
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 is a poet, performer and mixed media artist 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 done four solo performances 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, and A Yearlong Winter, a concept album with local band Rebecca Vs. Mexico. She has also put out a limited edition handmade poetry collection about teaching called She Liked Daisies Best and published Falling Season, her first full length collection through G & J Publishing. Tori dedicates her time to working with emerging artists of all disciplines, working with assault victims and teaching creativity and art classes for children. News about her work and her blog can be found at www.thefusionproject.net.
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
Working with the Alexandria Transit Company and the Office of the Arts, Tori Lane, Poet Laureate for the City of Alexandria wishes to invite writers who live, work or study in the City of Alexandria to submit poetry for the “DASHing Words in Motion” project.
This poetry contest will bring recognition to writers, promote an appreciation of poetry as an art form, and provide inspiration to individuals using the DASH buses and trolleys. Winners will have their poems published on the Alexandria Transit Company’s DASH buses and trolleys in April 2014 for National Poetry Month.
Frequently Asked Questions and the Submission Guidelines are now available.
Deadline for submitting entries for “DASHing Words in Motion” is Monday, January 6, 2014.
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