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The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission Selects Fifth Poet Laureate:
Santa Fe, NM— June 18, 2019—The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission is pleased to announce the selection of Elizabeth Jacobson as the city’s fifth Poet Laureate. Established in 2005, the Poet Laureate is an honorary position that is both ceremonial and educational, with the goal of promoting the presence of poetry in the city. Jacobson will serve as Poet Laureate through June 2021, during which time she will make public performances marking important civic occasions as well as present educational seminars for the public. Jacobson was selected from a field of outstanding local poets nominated by members of the poetry community and the community at large. In 2013 she founded the WingSpan Poetry Project which hosts weekly poetry writing classes at local shelters in Santa Fe, offering people seeking refuge from trauma and compromised living situations a forum to be creative in a safe environment. WingSpan is a vital community engagement project which is celebrating its sixth anniversary this year.
“It is a delight and an honor to serve the City of Santa Fe as Poet Laureate, continuing the essential work of poets Arthur Sze, Valerie Martinez, Joan Logghe and John Davis. From my work in the classroom, and in the poetry sessions I teach at Santa Fe shelters for the WingSpan Poetry Project, I value how poetry has a way of cultivating intimacy, almost immediately, even within a group of strangers. My initiative for the two-year appointment will emphasize the celebration of poetry in our community as a tradition that affirms connections between people through discovery, diversity and commonality.”
Elizabeth Jacobson has worked continuously in the Santa Fe community as an educator of poetry and writing since she moved to Santa Fe in 1989. Her first position was as an adjunct in the English Department at the Santa Fe Community College where she taught poetry and fiction workshops, Technical Writing and Freshman Composition. Marriage and the birth of two children seventeen months apart prompted her to find ways to teach with a more flexible schedule, thus she continued her work in the community at CCA’ s Warehouse 21, the Youth Development Program for incarcerated teens, and with ArtWorks, where for many years she taught in the public elementary schools as a teaching artist. In 2013 she founded the WingSpan Poetry Project. The project was implemented at the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families. Additionally, WingSpan teachers, of which there are now five, have taught city-wide in other shelters including Youth Shelters, the Esperanza Support Center, the St. Elizabeth’s Men’s Shelter and the St. Elizabeth’s emergency shelter for women and families, Casa Familia. Weekly classes at both these St. Elizabeth facilities are ongoing. WingSpan has received four grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry and a Community Partnership Award from Esperanza.
Elizabeth Jacobson’s second book, Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air, won the New Measure Poetry Prize, selected by Marianne Boruch (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, 2019). Jacobson is also the author of Her Knees Pulled In (Tres Chicas Books), and two chapbooks, A Brown Stone and Are the Children Make Believe?, both from Dancing Girl Press. Her work has appeared in numerous literary publications including the American Poetry Review, Hinchas de Poesia, On The Seawall, Orion Magazine, Ploughshares, Plume, Poet Lore, The American Journal of Poetry, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, Vox Populi, Women's Studies, Zocalo Public Square and others. Elizabeth is the Reviews Editor for Terrain.org., and she has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University.
Through the Poet Laureate program, the City wishes to enhance the literary arts presence in Santa Fe by creating a focal point for the expression of Santa Fe’s culture through the literary arts. The program raises awareness of the power of poetry and the spoken word while celebrating the spirit of the people and special qualities of the city. A key component of the program is the promotion of interdisciplinary collaboration through the literary arts. The Poet Laureate receives an annual honorarium of $5,000, with funding from The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. In addition to her own programming as Poet Laureate, Elizabeth with be partnering with our first annual Youth Poet Laureate, Hannah Laga-Abram on some shared event offerings over their terms. The Santa Fe Youth Poet Laureate is a program of The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry.
Interviews with Ms. Jacobson may be arranged upon request.
For more information on the City's First Youth Poet Laureate click HERE
Read about Past Poets Laureate