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City of Auburn Poet Laureate

Auburn's Poet Laureate Susan Landgraf (2018 -2020)

Susan LandgrafOn March 19, 2018, the City of Auburn Council appointed the Auburn's Poet Laureate, Susan Landgraf. A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed and is invited to compose poems for City occasions and events. Karolyn K. Hughey submitted the nomination for Susan Landgraf as Auburn's 2018-2020 Poet Laureate and shares that  "Susan is one of a kind" and is always "bringing out the best in people."

Landgraf is a very talented, respected and well-published poet with a positive personality and charisma that the Arts Commission feels will represent Auburn well in this honorary role. She is a retired Highline College Professor of over 27 years, and has had her work widely published including over 400 poems and essays in more than 150 journals, including Poet Lore, Nimrod, Rattle, The Laurel Review, Third Coast Review and the Cincinnati Poetry Review. In 2017, she had a full-length poetry manuscript published by Tebot Bach, titled What We Bury Changes the Ground. Awards for her work include: the Lois Cranston Memorial Prize; the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry; Society for Humanistic Anthropology award; and the Academy of American Poets Award. She has also participated in many residencies including: Willapa Bay in April 2018, Centrum, Port Townsend, WA; and the Willard R. Espy writing residency award, Oysterville, WA.

Her poetry is insightful and beautiful, exquisitely composed yet relatable. Susan Landgraf will serve as Auburn's Poet Laureate from 2018-2020.

Past Poet Laureates


What is the City of Auburn Poet Laureate Position?

The City of Auburn Poet Laureate was established by City Ordinance 6383 in 2011 and recognizes and honors a citizen poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. The Poet Laureate also encourages appreciation of poetry and literary life in Auburn. Once a Poet Laureate program is established the Auburn Arts Commission will forward a recommendation to the Mayor for final selection and appointment.

What is the Term of Service and Compensation?

The term of service for the next Poet Laureate will be three years. The award is honorific. There is no financial compensation for the position.

Who is eligible to be nominated Poet Laureate of City of Auburn?

Individuals may nominate a poet for the Poet Laureate position by following the application process offered in this document. The public is encouraged to nominate poets from all walks of life, and all poetry forms are welcome. Nominations for Auburn's Poet Laureate will be accepted for poets who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Poet must be a resident of North Pierce County or South Pierce County for at least one year.
  • Applicant and nominee must be at least 18 years old.
  • Poet must have produced work of the highest caliber and have contributed substantial service to the development of the Auburn literary arts as demonstrated by the submitted application.
  • Poet's submitted work samples may be on any topic; although consideration will be give to works representative of Auburn and its history. All poetry forms will be considered.
  • A poet may not self-nominate him or herself.
  • No award will be given posthumously.
  • Poet must not be a member or staff member of the current Auburn Arts Commission or City of Auburn or their immediate family or household.

What is the selection process for the Poet Laureate?

A panel drawn from members of the literary community will select three finalists from among the nominations. The three finalists will be submitted to the Auburn Arts Commission for review, approval, and recommendation. The Poet Laureate of Auburn will then be chosen by the Mayor from among these nominees in December.

What are the obligations of the Poet Laureate?

City staff will coordinate a public ceremony honoring the new Poet Laureate in conjunction with Uniquely Auburn or other public program. The Poet Laureate will be invited to participate in various City of Auburn public openings and events throughout the three year term.

How will Poet Laureate nominations be evaluated?

The Poet Laureate will be chosen on the basis of three criteria:

  • Excellence as evidenced by the submitted poetry sample
  • Exemplary professionalism as evidenced by an established history of publication in journals and books, special honors, awards, fellowships, and/or other recognition
  • Advancement of poetry in Auburn communities as evidenced by a history of activity in Auburn's literary community through readings, publications, public presentations and/or teaching

Re-nomination of Previously Nominated Poets

Nominations are not carried over in future years. If you wish to nominate someone who has been nominated before, a new nomination application and materials must be submitted.