The Poet’s Role in Social Justice

In Houston, poet laureates were in the news two weeks in a row. First, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the opening of the application process to become the 5th Houston Poet Laureate. I cheered, but some complained. Then 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, stole the show at the Presidential Inauguration, perhaps even outshining J-Lo and Lady Gaga.

I wrote an essay about those two events because I believe that there is an important role that Poet Laureates can play in American civic life. The divisions in society were exacerbated in the past four years. Amanda Gorman’s poem gave people hope that our nation can face our problems and begin to heal. The essay appears in the Houston Chronicle, and here’s the link. Let me know what you think.

1 comment

  1. Thanks for your insight on this issue, Robin. In Athens, Ohio, our past poet laureate is doing big things for Appalachian culture. She’s also become the poet laureate of our state. Poetry matters. It can create positive change, give voice, heal, heal, heal! Rock on Amanda Gorman. I loved learning about her personal mantra. We all need one!

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