City of Alexandria Names KaNikki Jakarta as New Poet Laureate

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City of Alexandria Names KaNikki Jakarta as New Poet Laureate

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2019

PLKaNikkiJakartaThe City of Alexandria has announced the appointment of KaNikki Jakarta as Alexandria’s new poet laureate, effective April 1. Jakarta succeeds Wendi Kaplan, whose three-year term ended March 31.

Jakarta is an award-winning performance poet who has toured the United States and the United Kingdom. She has founded, facilitated, or hosted 15 live poetry events, ranging from “open mics” and award ceremonies to conferences and workshops. With more than 26 years of writing experience and nearly two decades on the poetry scene, Jakarta has opened for vocalists Jill Scott, Raheem DaVaughn, and Lyfe Jennings. She has authored three works of fiction, two poetry collections, a poetry CD, and a memoir.

As an advocate for the art of poetry, Jakarta believes that positive poetry can connect people from all walks of life. She brings to the role of poet laureate a passion to create platforms of safe spaces to highlight the talents of other artists. Jakarta writes and recites what she calls “real-life fiction.” She has said, “If you think something I say on the microphone may change your life, you’re probably right.”

The Alexandria Poet Laureate program was reestablished by the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts in 2007, 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. Past incumbents have included Mary McElveen, Amy Young, Tori Lane Kovarik, Ryan Wojanowski, and most recently, Wendi Kaplan.

For more information about the City’s Poet Laureate program, visit

For media inquiries, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at or 703.746.3959.

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