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My Town: Grand Rapids gets new Poet Laureate | Arts & Culture

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My Town: Grand Rapids gets new Poet Laureate
My Town: Grand Rapids gets new Poet Laureate

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A Calvin College professor will take over as the Poet Laureate of greater Grand Rapids starting next month.

During his three-year term, Professor L.S. Klatt will be the ambassador for poetry, creating programs and projects to foster public interest in the art. 

Klatt remarked, “The great vitality of a city is its speech, and yet much of what we say to one another is reckless, superfluous, or worn out. It is the task of poetry to resuscitate the tongue. As Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, I want to help us return again to the poems that articulate our aspirations and carry our cultural memory. In an age of competing discourses, I want to unify us once more around the possibilities and pleasures of words. That is what poetry has to offer.”

Klatt was appointed to the post by the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate Selection Committee.  He is a graduate of Wittenberg University.  He also retained advance degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, St. John's College, and the University of Georgia, where he studied with poets Brian Henry and Kevin Young. For the past ten years, he has taught literature and creative writing at Calvin College.

Klatt has won awards for his prose, including the Juniper Prize for Poetry and the Iowa Poetry Prize. His poems have been published by a variety of media, including Blackbird, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square, Harvard Review, New Orleans Review and The Best American Poetry 2011. Klatt is currently working on a series of prose poems that take the names of American corporations as their titles. His new volume of poetry, “Sunshine Wounded”, will be published at the end of 2014.

The new Poet Laureate will celebrate the start of his term on Thursday, April 3 at 5:30 inside Grand Rapids’ Main Library.

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