Microphone at open mic night
Microphone at open mic night

Civic Poet

Office of Arts & Culture
(206) 684-7171
arts.culture@seattle.gov

Civic Poet 2017-19: Anastacia-Renee Tolbert

Anastacia Renee Tolbert Anastacia Renee Tolbert is a queer writer of color, performance artist, creative writing workshop facilitator and activist. She is the current Civic Poet of Seattle and former 2015-2017 Poet-in-Residence at Richard Hugo House.  She has received writing fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust and Jack Straw, as well as a writing residency from Ragdale.  Her theatrical mixed-media project, 9 Ounces: A One Woman Show, is a multivalent play unapologetically downward dogging its way through class, race, culture, oppression, depression, survival and epiphany. Anastacia-Renee is the Author of Forget It (Black Radish Books), (v.), (Gramma Press) 26, (Dancing Girl Press), and Kiss Me Doll Face (Gramma Press). Answer(Me) (Winged City Chapbooks, Argus Press) is forthcoming in September 2017.  Her work has appeared in: Revise the Psalm, Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks, Split this Rock, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Seattle Review, Bone Bouquet, Duende, Synaethesia, Banqueted and many more. 

Past Civic Poets

Claudia Castro LunaClaudia Castro Luna's muse is the city, from little libraries and food trucks to the green tunnels of Lincoln Park. Claudia left her native El Salvador at the age of 14 escaping the Civil War with her family. Resilient to the low expectations of high school counselors, she went on to study Anthropology and French at the University of California Irvine and earned an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA. Fluent in German, she is a K-12 certified teacher with a passion for arts education and teaching immigrants. In 2012 she earned an MFA in poetry from Mills College. She was a 2014 Jack Straw fellow and is a recent recipient of a King County 4Culture grant. Her poems have appeared in Milvia Street, The Womanist, Riverbabble, and forthcoming in the Taos Journal of Poetry and Art. She has been a featured reader for the Berkeley Poetry Festival and for NPR-affiliate KALW. Claudia is also writing a memoir, an excerpt of which appears in the 2014 Jack Straw Writers' Anthology. Living in English and Spanish, Claudia writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children.

You can learn more about Claudia on her blog or follow her on twitter.

Seattle Poetic Grid 
Seattle Civic Poet, Claudia Castro Luna, launches a poetry map of the city. Seattle Poetic Grid (http://www.seattlepoeticgrid.com) is an interactive poetic cartography of the city and a culmination of Castro Luna's two-year Civic Poet residency. The Grid brings Seattle's poetic side to light. The project is intended to remain as a living testament of the city, and includes a link for those who would like to make their poetic contributions.

Poems

About the Seattle Civic Poet Program

The Civic Poet program celebrates Seattle's rich literary community, while investing the future of literary arts through community engagement. The Civic Poet program is administered by the city's Office of Arts & Culture. The two-year Civic Poet post will serve as a cultural ambassador for Seattle's rich, multi-hued literary landscape and will represent Seattle's diverse cultural community. In addition to five annual performances, the Civic Poet will also complete hands-on work with communities to engage constituents city-wide. Seattle's Civic Poet will serve a term of two years, and will receive a $10,000 stipend distributed over the two year term.

In addition, Luna will participate in the Seattle Public Library's Sharing Our Voices project. The Library will commission three original poems, record Luna reading her poems and record an oral interview with her identifying the inspiration and creation process inherent in poetry. The recordings will be added to the Library collection.

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