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Poet Laureate

Since the city of Spokane’s poet laureate position was created in 2013, four poet laureates have filled the role: Thom Caraway, Laura Read, and Mark Anderson, and Chris Cook. Each poet has increased the visibility of poetry in our city, taught countless free classes and workshops, created low-barrier ways for community members to engage with poetry, and celebrated the uniqueness of Spokane through the spoken and written word.

The Poet Laureate program celebrates Spokane’s vibrant literary community and aims to strengthen the future of literary arts in our city by engaging a broad range of communities. During their two-year term, each Poet Laureate serves as a cultural ambassador for both the written form and spoken word, and conducts public events to engage constituents city-wide.

As both a local resident and a distinguished poet, the Poet Laureate both represents and celebrates the rich literary history and the diversity of Eastern Washington. As a spokesperson for the area’s literary community, the Poet Laureate helps reinforce the role of literature in civic life and actively participates in ceremonial, educational and cultural activities in the community.

The Poet Laureate program is administered by Spokane Arts, in partnership with the city of Spokane.

Check out In the Neighborhood, the previous Poet Laureate’s community poetry program!

Meet Our Poet Laureates

Mery Smith Current Poet Laureate

Mery smith is a Spokane poet and story holder living in Spokane, WA! Her work has been featured in the anthology Pivot and Pause and Listen to Your Mother. She is the author of one chapbook, crumbs. And publications The Comet and

Chris Cook (2019-2021)

Thom Caraway (2013-2015)

Laura Read (2015-2017)

Mark Anderson (2017-2019)