Arizona State University professor Rosemarie Dombrowski was named the city of Phoenix’s first Poet Laureate Wednesday and is set to begin her two-year term in January 2017.
The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and the Phoenix Public Library started the process of finding candidates for the position in October with the aim of appointing a poet and poetry advocate from the community to bring a wider appreciation for poetry in the city. Dombrowski’s appointment was announced at a press conference with Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Laura Pastor.
Dombroski is the co-founder and host of the Phoenix Poetry Series and founder of Rinky Dink Press, as well as the senior lecturer of English composition, creative writing and literature on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.
She said she quickly applied for the position when alerted of the search.
“I also knew that it would be a dream come true given that I’ve dedicated my professional life to poetry, not to mention the work that I’ve been doing in the community for 10 plus years,” Dombrowski said.
Mayor Greg Stanton praised her dedication to connecting Phoenix to poetry.
“I can’t wait to see the poetry Phoenix will inspire in Rosemarie Dombrowski,” Stanton said in a statement. “Her qualifications as a writer and teacher, and her commitment to community outreach through poetry, make her an excellent choice for this new position.”
Alberto Rios, Poet Laureate for the state of Arizona, also showed his support with high fives and smiles at the event Wednesday.
At his appointment in 2013, Rios discussed the importance of literature in the advancement of human expression.
“The Poet Laureate designation is an important way for Arizona and its people to express a public regard for the well-written word. I would like to be part of that statement, a line in that poem,” Rios said.
Dombrowski agreed that poetry can have a positive effect, and said she plans to use her position to further that impact.
“I knew that if I could use this post to bring visibility to the possibilities that poetry affords us as writers and creatives as well as the marginalized, under-represented and oppressed, then I knew that I would be doing justice to the form,” she said.
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