2021 City of Scottsdale Poet Laureate Call

The city of Scottsdale, in partnership with Scottsdale Arts and the Scottsdale Public Library, is pleased to announce the 2021 poet laureate search. The poet laureate aims to enhance the profile of poetry, poets, and literary arts to our entire community, especially those with less access or exposure to poetry, including older adults, youth, schools, and more. The poet laureate will be a creative person with the demonstrated ability to enact their vision. The poet laureate will make several guest appearances during the term, promoting poetry throughout the community. The poet laureate will serve for a four-year term and will be provided an stipend of $1,500 annually.  

Scottsdale’s next poet laureate will be called specifically to utilize the power of poetry and language to contribute insight, foster understanding, and support healing around issues of equity and inclusion in our community. The city of Scottsdale, Scottsdale Arts, and Scottsdale Public Library will support the laureate in networking within the community, but engagement activities, workshops, and performances must be accomplished by the chosen candidate. 

Important Details 

  • Application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 4, 2021. 
  • Appointment extends through December 31, 2024. 
  • The poet laureate will receive a $1,500 stipend per year. 
  • All practicing poets, over the age of 18, who have demonstrable connections to Scottsdale, are invited to apply.  
  • The appointed poet laureate will utilize the power of poetry and language to contribute insight, understanding, and healing to explore issues of equity and inclusion or other issues facing our community.  

Important Dates 

  • May 3, 2021: Submissions open. 
  • June 4, 2021: Deadline for receipt of submissions. 
  • June 7–25: Application review, and interviews will be conducted if required.  
  • July 1, 2021: Poet laureate duties begin. 

Applicants Must: 

  • Have a demonstrable connection to Scottsdale including, but not limited to, employment, residency, education, or other meaningful connection.  
  • Be 18 years or older. 
  • Be a practicing poet and dedicated to producing poetry (in any form, genre, or style) on a regular basis. 
  • Speak, read, and write English. Recognizing the diverse languages represented in the community, bilingual and multilingual poets are encouraged to apply. 


  • The poet laureate appointment term is from contract signing through December 31, 2024. 


  • The poet laureate will be paid $1,500 per year ($6,000 total).  

Scope of Work 

  • The poet laureate will enter into an agreement with the city of Scottsdale, and work with city staff to determine a final scope of work. 
  • The poet laureate will occasionally read poems at ceremonial or literary events that are free and open to the public, e.g., building or public art unveilings, City Council meetings, art or community events, etc. The city reserves the right to review any proposed poems (either the poet’s own work or the work of other poets) beforehand and accept or decline the reading. 
  • The poet laureate will present one commemorative poem each year at the annual State of the City event.  
  • The poet laureate will work with Scottsdale Arts and the Scottsdale Public Library to plan six additional hours of contact time with the public per year that actively contributes to and advances Scottsdale’s literary community. 
  • The poet laureate will use social media as often as possible, or work with city staff to prepare social media communications that encourage excitement about poetry, literacy, literary events, and related issues. 
  • The poet laureate will agree to responsibly handle administrative duties in association with the program. 
  • The poet laureate will agree that the city of Scottsdale may photograph them during their poet laureate workshops and projects. 

Submission Guidelines 

To be considered, applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and submit a packet including all requested materials. Incomplete applications and extra material will not be considered.  

Applicants must provide: 

  • A resume. 
  • Five (5) written poetry samples (published or self-published). 
  • One (1) video recording sample of a poetry reading or a performance of one of the written work samples. 
  • A 1,000-word proposal of how they would engage with the public as the city’s poet laureate, including audience, community engagement strategy, and samples of workshops or projects that would support the focus or theme of their appointment. 
  • A 500-word description of the poet’s connection to Scottsdale. This may include work, residency, or other meaningful connection.  

Selection Criteria 

Four applications must be received for the selection process to go forward. 

Artists should bear in mind that the audiences will be broad-based and of all ages, and in representing the city’s inclusive, non-partisan stance, the poet must use discretion when acting in the capacity of the city’s poet laureate. 

  • Aesthetic Quality: Do the written or recorded work samples exhibit strong aesthetic merit? Are the works consistently strong? Does the applicant produce poetry on a regular basis? 
  • Community Involvement: Does the applicant demonstrate a history of involvement and activity within the literary arts? Does the applicant demonstrate understanding of Scottsdale’s community?  
  • Potential for Engagement: Does the proposal support the poet’s ability to engage Scottsdale’s citizens in meaningful ways to further the literary arts in our community? 

Jury will be composed of staff from the city of Scottsdale, Scottsdale Public Library, and Scottsdale Arts, as well as poets and literary experts from the greater Scottsdale community. 

Questions or assistance in applying? 

Contact Natalie Marsh, director of Learning & Innovation, Scottsdale Arts, NatalieM@ScottsdaleArts.org