Literary Programs

Page updated on Oct 16, 2018 at 1:53 PM

Poetry Workshops: “Building Cultural Bridges” with Wendi R Kaplan, Poet Laureate, City of Alexandria
PL Photo Wendi Kaplan

Whether you call yourself a poet or an artist or a human, you can write poetry!!  Wendi R. Kaplan, Poet Laureate, City of Alexandria invites you to join her for a series of Monday writing poetry workshops: “Building Cultural Bridges” on Mondays:

♦  November 5 and December 3 - Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron St. 

At these workshops, poetry can be read and written.  The workshops are FREE and will be held from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. If you wish to participate, please RSVP at poet@alexandriava.gov.

The Poet Laureate and literary programs are part of the Office of the Arts, a division of the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities.  For additional information, please call Cheryl Anne Colton at 703.746.5565 or cherylanne.colton@alexandriava.gov..

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, email cherylanne.colton@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.5565, Virginia Relay 711.


City of Alexandria Searches for Next Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Image
The City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts is in search of a Poet Laureate to promote an appreciation of poetry as an art form, promote creative writing and reading of literature, and promote literacy through poetry. The individual will serve as Poet Laureate for three years and receive a modest annual honorarium.

Individuals can nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else. Nominees must distinguish themselves in the field of poetry through the body of work created; be a resident of the City for a minimum of one year and maintain residency through the three-year term of service; must accept the Poet Laureate post as a ceremonial role, which includes presentations of work appropriate for all audiences; and be 18 years of age or older.  

The online submission deadline is Friday, January 11, 2019.   To request a link to a Poet Laureate application, click here.  

Past Poet Laureates include:
Wendi R. Kaplan, 2016-2019
Ryan Wojanowski, 2016-2016
Tori Lane Kovarik, 2013-2016
Amy Young, 2010-2013
Mary McElveen, 2007-2010
Jean Elliott, 1979-1999

For additional about the literary and Poet Laureate programs, visit the Office of the Arts website or email the Poet Laureate or call the Cheryl Anne Colton, Regional Program Director, Office of the Arts 703.746.5565 or email.

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, email cherylanne.colton@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.5565, Virginia Relay 711.

Poet Laureate Program 

PL Photo Wendi Kaplan
Wendi R. Kaplan
Alexandria's Poet Laureate 2016 - 2019


The Alexandria Commission for the Arts announced at their June 21 meeting, the appointment of  Wendi R. Kaplan to fulfill the role as Poet Laureate for the City of Alexandria. 

Ms. Kaplan has been an Alexandria resident and community activist since 1982. She has been writing and reading poetry as long as she can remember. Ms. Kaplan’s poetry reflects her observations of the world, of nature, of people and of the exquisite awareness of the extraordinary in the present moment.
 
Ms. Kaplan is also a clinical social worker and certified poetry therapist who has worked in community services and has her own psychotherapy practice. She has taught at The American University and at The George Washington University School of Medicine. She weaves poetry through all of her work, from teaching and facilitating groups to her community activism.   Ms. Kaplan writes “Poetry Musings,” a quarterly column for the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work newsletter.
 
Ms. Kaplan brings a deep and abiding love of poetry to her position as Poet Laureate.  She enthusiastically shares poetry with family, friends, colleagues and community. She understands that in good times and hard times poetry brings joy, support, connection, and awareness. Ms. Kaplan brings poetry to people of all ages and teaches them to express themselves in writing, knowing that poetry gives people a voice, even when they feel they have none.
 
Ms. Kaplan believes that poetry illuminates life and that we are all poets. She looks forward to serving Alexandria by creating poetic conversations and events for people to find and share their poetic voices.
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.

City Council re-established the Poet Laureate program in 2006, and Mary McElveen was selected to fill the post. Ms. McElveen served as Poet Laureate from 2007-2010.  Ms. Young served as Poet Laureate from 2010 -2013; Tori Lane Kovarik served from 2013-2016; and Ryan Wojtanowski served from March 2016 – May 2016.  Prior to McElveen’s appointment, Jean Elliott, an Alexandria resident, served as the City’s “Poet in Residence” from 1979 until her death in 1999.

For more information, contact Cheryl Anne Colton, Regional Program Director, Office of the Arts, Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, at 703.746.5588 e-mail: poet@alexandriava.gov.

Alexandria Teen Fall Poetry Project

Alexandria Fall Teen Poetry - Logo
Alexandria Teens - Get creative and share your voice!  A new Alexandria Teen Fall Poetry Project kicks off with a series of Poetry Workshops at the Duncan Library, 2501 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, VA.  Young poets are invited to fall into the art and craft of poetry in a fun, creative and supportive environment.  Selected poets for the Teen Poetry Circle will be informed in November.  Submission details click here.  
  
The Poetry Workshops and Poetry Circle are part of a Girls Scouts’ Gold Award Positive Poetry project in collaboration with the Alexandria City Office of the Arts and the Alexandria City Public Library: Duncan Library branch.

For additional information about the Office of the Arts’ programs and services call Cheryl Anne Colton at 703.746.5565, or email: cherylanne.colton@alexandriava.gov.

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, email cherylanne.colton@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.5565, Virginia Relay 711.


"DASHing Words in Motion" 

DASHing Words in Motion

DASHing Words in Motion Poets Named



The 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. In addition to Wendi R. Kaplan, Poet Laureate, City of Alexandria, six poets were selected from forty submissions to have their poems published inside the DASH buses and Trolleys in April and May.  The winners selected include:
• Renee Adams 
• Jillinda Jill Glenn 
• Robin Holzhauer 
• Hunter Hyland,
• Linda Thorla 
• Michelle Wells       

Winning Poets and their poems:
"2108 DASHing Words in Motion"

"2017 DASHing Words in Motion!"

"2016 DASHing Words in Motion!"

"2015 DASHing Words in Motion!"

"2014 DASHing Words in Motion!"


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 
Mary McElveen. Poet Laureate, 2007-2010 
Amy Young, Poet Laureate, 2010-2013 
Tori Lane Kovarik, Poet Laureate, 2013-2016
Ryan Wojtanowski, Poet Laureate, 2016, 2016


Alexandria's Poet Laureate March, 2016-May, 2016

PoetLaureateRyanWojtanowskiphoto2


It is with a heavy heart that Alexandria Commission for the Arts reports the unfortunate news of the passing of Ryan Wojtanowski.  Prayers and thoughts are with Ryan’s wife and family.

Ryan’s contributions as Poet Laureate are appreciated. Although his tenure as Poet Laureate was short, in his role he as Poet Laureate he taught a poetry class at the Blessed Sacrament School.  He made a public presentation for National Poetry Month on April 21 Poetry event at the Athenaeum.  He also wrote and presented poems on April 30 for the Alexandria Earth Day Celebration and on May 15-17 for the Hokule’a - a replica of a Polynesian deep sea voyaging canoe - when it stopped in Alexandria. 

Poems,  Alexandria Earth Day, April 30, 2016



 



 

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