For Immediate Release
Contact Mayor Lori Palmeri




City of Oshkosh launches new poet laureate program:  Giving voice to community


Poet Laureate


The City of Oshkosh is launching the first Poet Laureate program in April which is National Poetry Month.  This is a partnership of the City of Oshkosh, Oshkosh Public Library and the Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau. The goal of the new initiative is to enrich the lives of the Oshkosh community by highlighting literacy, sharing the values of poetry, sparking creativity and fostering artistic expression. 


Mayor Lori Palmeri introduced this idea to the Oshkosh City Council after being inspired by poet and activist Amanda Gorman's poem, "The Hill We Climb," which she read at the inauguration of Joe Biden in 2021. The poem’s following phrase resonated with Palmeri. 

"There is always light.
Only if we are brave enough to see it. 
There is always light. 
Only if we are brave enough to be it.”


Palmeri says, "A strong history of poet laureates, as ambassadors of the spoken and written word, inspired the idea of a city initiative for sharing hope and healing in our community. The arts are an important part of the creative Oshkosh culture and a unique way to promote literacy. The collective voice of our community brings us together as human beings." 


Oshkosh’s Poet Laureate will serve as the leading voice for poetry in the Oshkosh community. During their two-year term, they will promote the art form through publication, performance, education, workshops and digital social media. In addition, the position will receive an honorarium of $2,000 annually.


Oshkosh Public Library Director, Jeff Gilderson-Duwe believes this is an important initiative, "When Mayor Lori Palmeri introduced the idea of Oshkosh having a city Poet Laureate, we were eager to be part of the project.  The Oshkosh Public Library has a history of encouraging writing and creative expression through such events as the Lakefly Writer's Conference and the Mark Gruenewald Comic Book Creation Challenge.  Supporting the creation and appreciation of poetry in Oshkosh is part of the Library's role in making this a culturally vibrant community." 

The City of Oshkosh's first Poet Laureate position is open to all creators, ages 18 and older, who live within the boundaries of the Oshkosh Area School District.  Applications will be accepted until midnight on Mon., June 7, 2021.  The selection of Poet Laureate will be publicly announced on September 14 on the sponsoring organization’s Facebook pages and Oshkosh Public Library’s website.

Full details and an application are at For more information, please contact Oshkosh Public Library’s Community Engagement Librarian Sandra Toland at

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