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Arts & Culture

Meet Houston’s New Poet Laureate

Robin Davidson was named Houston’s new poet laureate on Tuesday.


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announcement of new Poet Laureate
“Both women have a demonstrated commitment of connection to young people and wanting to outreach and engage our youth. And that was a critical element of being poet laureate,” explains Mayor Annise Parker, speaking of the city’s outgoing and incoming poets laureates. From left to right: Outgoing Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda, incoming Poet Laureate Robin Davidson, and Mayor Annise Parker


Robin Davidson already has a long list of literary accolades. Now she can add “poet laureate” to the top of it.

Robin Davidson says she’s starting with three goals as Houston’s new poet laureate. For one, she wants to give back to the University of Houston Downtown, where she’s an associate professor of English.

“I also hope to be able to illuminate for many people in the city just the incredible diversity. There are academic poets, there are community poets, there are performance poets,” she adds.

Davidson says she also plans to create an anthology of favorite poems by Houstonians. It’s similar to what former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky did during his term in the late 1990s.

Mayor Annise Parker created the poet laureate position a couple of years ago. Part of her vision was to put a lesser-known art form back in the spotlight.

“Spoken word is an art form that has faded a little bit in public view. And this is an opportunity to expose folks to that again,” Parker says.

The position includes a stipend of $10,000 over two years. Davidson’s two-year term follows that of Gwendolyn Zepeda, named Houston’s first poet laureate in 2013.