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Dasha Kelly Hamilton named as next Wisconsin Poet Laureate, first Black woman in role's history

Posted at 11:05 AM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 19:35:23-05

History has been made in the announcement of Wisconsin's next Poet Laureate.

The Wisconsin Poet Laureate named Dasha Kelly Hamilton as the Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2021-2022, the first Black woman to be named in the role's history.

“Dasha Kelly Hamilton’s infectious energy and demonstrated history of transforming lives through the written and spoken word make her the perfect ambassador for poetry in the state of Wisconsin,” says Nick Demske, Chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. “Her reputation precedes her, and we know that Wisconsin residents will benefit in many ways from this outstanding poet.”

Kelly Hamilton will play a "crucial role in keeping the arts accessible and vital to all age groups, and acts as a statewide emissary for poetry and creativity," according to the commission.

“My practice as a writer and cultural organizer connects me to a spectrum of conversations and communities. For 20 years, I’ve invited folks to lean in to the experience of creating and sharing poems as entry points for reflection, for discovery, for celebrating truth. I’ve seen communities built and individuals fortified through poems and spoken word," said Kelly Hamilton. "I’m honored to continue building community across the state as Wisconsin Poet Laureate, and look forward to establishing a poetry exchange between traditional residents and writer residents in Wisconsin prisons."

Kelly Hamilton fills the position vacated by Margaret Rozga, Wisconsin's eighth Poet Laureate.

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