The Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador for poetry, encouraging creative expression and literacy while celebrating the power and beauty of language. The Poet Laureate writes and shares his or her work in public appearances, workshops, and exhibits and engages the public to find and share their own voice.

The Poet Laureate typically meets on a bi-monthly basis with the Poets Laureate Committee, which oversees the Kenosha/Racine Poets Laureate Program, to develop a creative project and discuss other activities related to this position. This Committee is comprised of volunteers who work in service to the Program.

The Poet Laureate serves for two years.


  1. Nurture creative expression among the community’s residents with the potential benefit of helping them to build self-esteem, improve social skills, increase literacy, process emotions and feelings, discover a new hobby or life path, tell their personal stories, collaborate with others, and achieve a deeper level of understanding about themselves and those around them. The Poet Laureate is expected to possess skills in public speaking, presentation, and interaction with audiences.
  2. Provide at least six (6) public readings in Southeastern Wisconsin during the two (2) year term. Readings may include open mic performances, poetry slams, poetry readings, presentations before writing and book clubs and school groups, radio or television appearances, and participation at other venues.
  3. Write and distribute poems through print and/or electronic media.
  4. Meet with the Poets Laureate Committee at its regular meetings.
  5. Engage in other activities as mutually agreeable by the Poet Laureate and the committee.​

​All applications from qualified individuals are welcome, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, cultural heritage, socio-economic background or physical ability.  APPLICATION PERIOD IS CLOSED.


  1. Reside in Kenosha County, including its city, towns, and villages.
  2. Be at least 18 years of age by November 1, 2017.
  3. Demonstrate excellence in promoting awareness, benefits, and enjoyment of poetry.
  4. Have access to reliable transportation, either public or private.
  5. Agree to maintain residency in Kenosha County during the term of appointment.


  1. The Committee reviews all submitted materials to arrive at three (3) finalists.
  2. The Committee separately interviews the finalists and makes its determination, based on the application packet and the interview.​

The primary benefits of being the Poet Laureate are in being recognized as an ambassador for poetry, creative expression, and literacy and in serving others through the Poet Laureate’s creative project.

Dependent on availability of funds and approval of the Committee on their use, the Poet Laureate may attend conferences, seminars, and workshops, along with other items related to the purpose of the Program. The Committee strives to obtain adequate funding for the Program through grants and donations.

The Poet Laureate may accept honoraria or remuneration from organizations, businesses, institutions, groups and/or individuals for such endeavors as readings at public and private functions, teaching poetry workshops, travel and related expenses to these types of events, and for other activities related to his or her role as Poet Laureate.

Upon completion of his or her term, the Poet Laureate is encouraged to become an ex officio member of the Committee for a period of two years. Ex officio members have all the rights of the other members, including voting rights, but do not count toward a quorum. There are no mandatory attendance requirements for them. They may apply for general membership to the Committee following completion of their two-year term as ex officio members, but such application does not guarantee an appointment.


Current Poets Laureate | Previous Poets Laureate