Poet Laureate and Youth Poet
The Rockford Area Arts Council, in partnership with the Rockford Public Library and the City of Rockford, established the City of Rockford Poet Laureate and Youth Poet in October, 2020. A City Poet Laureate is an honorary position; Poets Laureate promote literacy and literature among residents of all ages. The Arts Council and the Rockford Public Library develop programming, and complementary resources, to provide the recipient with opportunities to promote their personal work, host workshops for residents, and appear at important City events. The official honor of City of Rockford Poet Laureate, is awarded for a period of two years and is a grant-funded position. The City of Rockford Youth Poet is awarded for a period of one year.
Current City of Rockford Poet Laureate
2023 and 2024: Jenna Goldsmith
Jenna Goldsmith is a writing professor at Rockford University and is the recipient of accolades, awards, and scholarships across the United States, including Winner – Baltic Writing Residency Chapbook Contest, Up to Us Fellowship – Project Pericles, Oregon State University Women’s Giving Circle Grant, Writer-in-Residence – Write On, Oregon State University Cascades Faculty Executive Council Grant, Finalist, Swedish Residency – Baltic Writing Residency, and the Oregon Cultural Trust Oregon Poet Laureate Selection Committee.
“Inspired by poetry itself and memorable poetry readings, I hope to collaborate with Rockfordians to facilitate encounters with poetry that surprise, excited, foster local pride, and awaken others to the institutions that connect us. I wish to demonstrate how poetry moves in, out, and through places of physical and social infrastructure in our community—the landfill, the coroner’s office, the transit district, the DMV, the airport—to offer Rockfordians a glimpse into an alternative public square.” – Jenna Goldsmith