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Multi-site Public Poetry Installations for National Poetry Month

Seattle Civic Poet Launches Public Poetry Campaign

Seattle, WA (March 12, 2024) - Our current Seattle Civic Poet, Shin Yu Pai, is beginning the final cycle of her two-year commission with a multi-site public poetry installation (6MB slide deck) for National Poetry Month in April. Last year, Pai invited public input on identifying and prioritizing the campaign’s theme. What emerged was a call for short poems on Seattle places relating to sustainability. She received 51 submissions from poets and selected five individuals for inclusion in the project.

Launching on April 1, the campaign features Seattle poets Kathya Alexander, Bryna Antonia (Á Thanh) Cortes, Cindy Luong, Joe Nasta, and Bryan Wilson in these locations across the city: Seattle Public Library (downtown and South Park), Wa Na Wari, Friends of Little Saigon, Seattle Municipal Tower, Slide Gallery (Belltown), and Bureau of Fearless Ideas. The campaign was designed by Jayme Yen, graphic designer and design teacher.

Visual elements across sites vary and include postcards, posters, window clings, vinyl banners, cut-paper installation, and a map of the featured sites.

“I’m excited to bring poetry from fresh voices into the public eye through this series of partnerships with local poets and community partners,” says Shin Yu Pai.

This public poetry program is made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Mellon Foundation. This project is also supported by The Windrose Fund.

Shin Yu Pai is a Poets Laureate Fellow of Academy of American Poets, a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow and was shortlisted for a 2014 Stranger Genius in Literature. She is the author of the new haiku comics collection Less Desolate from Blue Cactus Press and the recent poetry collection No Neutral (Empty Bowl, 2023).

She is creator and host of an award-winning, chart-topping podcast Ten Thousand Things (formerly The Blue Suit) for KUOW, Seattle’s NPR affiliate station.

From 2015 to 2017, Pai served as the fourth Poet Laureate of the City of Redmond. Her essays and nonfiction writing have appeared in Atlas Obscura, NY Times, Tricycle, YES! Magazine, The Rumpus, Seattle Met, Zocalo Public Square, Gastronomica, City Arts, The Stranger, South Seattle Emerald, International Examiner, Ballard News-Tribune, Seattle’s Child, Seattle Globalist, and ParentMap. Pai’s work has appeared in publications throughout the U.S., Japan, China, Taiwan, The United Kingdom, and Canada. She is represented by Tyler Tsay at The Speakeasy Project.

About Seattle Civic Poet

A partnership between the Office of Arts & Culture and Seattle City of Literature, the Seattle Civic Poet is a two-year residency and serves as a literary ambassador for Seattle. The role fosters community dialogue and engagement between the City, the public, and other artists, while celebrating the literary arts. Previous Seattle Civic Poets include Jourdan Imani Keith (2019-22), Anastacia-Renee Tolbert (2017-19), and Claudia Castro Luna (2015-17).

Launched in 2015, the Seattle Civic Poet program is inspired by the previous Poet Populist program instituted in 1999 by former Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata. The goal of the Poet Populist program was to support the practice of literary arts, and democracy, and to promote local literary arts organizations to a general audience citywide. The Poet Populist program was discontinued in 2008. The Civic Poet program continues the legacy of the Poet Populist program by fostering community dialogue and engagement between the public and artists while celebrating the literary arts.