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Poet Populist Seattle » Poet Pop News

Poet Pop News

Write a poem on Seattle Writes!

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

When Mike Hickey was elected, we challenged him to come up with a project to distinguish his year in office. He immediately suggested getting the local citizenry to write more poetry. Inspired by the Seattle Public library program Seattle Reads—a brainchild of Nancy Pearl and Chris Higashi–Mike’s program Seattle Writes helps everyone in King County write, publish, and share poetry this April and beyond.

Over the past month, Mike, along with our web designer extraordinaire Shaun Swick, and the erstwhile Poet Populist home office, have developed the program and interface. Check it out and submit your own poem!

Mike Hickey on the radio

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Luke Burbank of KIRO radio’s Too Beautiful to Live interviewed Mike Hickey just before the election… I finally got a chance to check it out. It’s an interesting take on why the general public (via the hosts of the show) feel that poetry has gotten too abstruse for its own good—and how the Poet Populist can help return it back to regular people. Check it out here!

Poet Inauguration Sunday 1/25!

Monday, January 19th, 2009

On Sunday, January 25, Mike Hickey will be installed as the city’s 8th Poet Populist at a reading at the Central Library. The reading will feature, besides Hickey, special guest Jack Hirschman, Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Former Seattle Poet Populist Cody Walker will also read, and several of this year’s candidates, including Judith Roche, Ruth Yarrow, Mimi Allin and Chelsey Richardson will make cameos. Program founder and Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata will give an introduction.

The reading starts at 2:00 pm, at the Central Library, 1000 - 4th Avenue between Madison and Spring streets. ADMISSION IS FREE.

Finalists’ Reading and Party at Hugo House Nov 14

Friday, November 7th, 2008

First off, congratulations to Mike Hickey, poet populist-elect for 2009! (See the results page for the rundown.)

Mike and the other finalists, plus some cameos from other contestants, libations from the bar, and some questions and door prizes from our “Pop Quiz” will all be part of the fun evening. Here are the details:


7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
1634 - 11th AVE

See you there!

Help Elect Seattle’s Next Poet Populist

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Residents of Seattle are invited to participate in electing the 2008–2009 Poet Populist by casting their vote online at starting Monday September 22–Tuesday November 4, 2008. This year, 13 poets have been nominated, and the public can learn about each poet at the Poet Populist web site before casting a vote. See below for list of nominees.

Now in its ninth election, the Poet Populist program is unlike poet laureate programs, for which dignitaries or government officials select a poet. Instead, Seattle conducts a city-wide popular vote to elect the poet of the people, the Poet Populist. This program is meant to engage the entire city of Seattle and to raise awareness of the crucial role that literary arts plays in public discourse.

To that end, the Poet Populist program has developed a new partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures to offer interactive poetry curriculum to Seattle public high schools. The curriculum teaches students about the roots of democracy and the role that literary arts and articulate leadership has played in our nation’s history. It also gives students a chance to work with and meet community-minded poets.

The four finalists with the highest votes will be invited to read at the Richard Hugo House on November 14, where the winner will be announced and awarded a cash prize of $500. The elected poet serves a one year term, maintains a schedule of public readings and writes one original poem commissioned to be included in the City’s archives. The 2007-2008 Poet Populist was Cody Walker.

Nominating Organizations and the Nominees

Any group that supports or promotes literary arts in Seattle was eligible to nominate a poet; poets must be residents of Seattle.

Announcing a New and Improved Program for Election Year

Friday, August 1st, 2008

In an ongoing effort to bring wider awareness and participation to the Seattle’s Poet Populist program we’ve made the following updates: 

  • New election calendar: The election will now run September 15 through November 4.
  • New inclusiveness for students: the new schedule will allow students and schools to participate to a greater degree.
  • Curriculum development: We are developing a curriculum for high schools that will examine democracy and the arts, and provide opportunities for candidates to visit schools. This effort is supported by Seattle Arts & Lectures and the Seattle Public Schools.
  • Improved web site: More dynamic features (live voting updates, audio and video embedding, candidate’s toolkit) will enhance the voter experience and improve the public presentation of candidates and participating organizations. 
  • Fiscal sponsorship: The program is newly a project of the non-profit Shunpike, which serves as a fiscal sponsor.
  • Final event: The four finalists with the highest vote totals will be invited to read at the Richard Hugo House on November 14, where the winner will be announced and awarded a cash prize of $500. 

Download a PDF of this news release.