Since the program began in 2005, the Takoma Park poet laureate has served as the City’s ambassador for poetry and a creative community for local poets.
Additionally, the poet laureate is involved in the organization of the Takoma Park Arts poetry reading series, which features free poetry readings by poets from various parts of the Washington, D.C. area.
Upon the recommendation of a subcommittee headed by outgoing Poet Laureate Kathleen O’Toole, the Takoma Park Arts and Humanities Committee unanimously recommended Johnson as the City’s next poet laureate. The subcommittee concluded that Johnson “has the heart, vision, and skills to help weave poetry into the fabric of Takoma Park and to harness the power of the arts to help build community.”
Johnson’s appointment was unanimously approved by the City Council on Sept. 28. As well as receiving an annual honorarium of $2,000 from City funds, Johnson will serve a three-year term, which began Oct. 1.
After growing up in the D.C. metropolitan area, Johnson and his wife recently relocated to Takoma Park from New Orleans. Over the years, he has taught poetry workshops at schools and colleges throughout the Washington, D.C. region, and his work has been published in a variety of journals, including The Paris Review and Tin House.
As the inaugural poet-in-residence of the Guggenheim Museum, Johnson has received a number of fellowships and residencies. A book of poetry titled Inheritance was named Best Poetry Book by the New York Times in 2020.
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Taylor Johnson read this poem at #TakomaPark city council meeting last night. Here, he gives context to the poem, and reads more, in conversation with poet and podcaster Grace Cavalieri. https://t.co/ZtRlisbWCA
— Community Vision for Takoma (@junctionvision) September 29, 2022
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