Dorchester’s Danielle Legros Georges to be city’s next Poet Laureate

Photo by Priscilla Harmel

Danielle Legros Georges, a resident of Dorchester, will begin a four year-term as the city of Boston’s official Poet Laureate in January. Georges, a native of Haiti who teaches Creative Arts at Lesley University, is a published poet and translator. She moved to the United States at age 6 with her parents, who settled in Mattapan.

“Mattapan had a small Haitian population when we first arrived, but it has since expanded dramatically,” said Georges, who has lived near Edward Everett Square for the last 11 years.

“Poetry is an art form to be celebrated. It helps us tell our stories and express ourselves,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement on Wednesday. “I look forward to the work Danielle will do to share her passion and talent for poetry throughout the Boston community.”

Georges has written on a variety of topics, some of it focused on her experience as a member of the Haitian diaspora. She wrote “A Poem for the Poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere” in the aftermath of the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“I was listening to news and so often I would heard about Haiti always referred to as the poorest country in the western hemisphere. I found it troublesome , so I wanted to add to the voices as a person in the diaspora and a person who cares about Haiti.”

Legros Georges work has been published in a wide variety of publications, including: Agni, Transition, World Literature Today, SpoKe, sx salon, The Caribbean Writer, Callaloo, Ibbetson Street, Salamander, Poeisis, Black Renaissance Noire, Macomère, The American Poetry Review and the Boston Haitian Reporter. In 2001, Legros Georges published a collection of poems, entitled Maroon.

Georges will get an annual stipend of $2,000 and a budget of $3,000 to program events in the city aimed at “raising the consciousness of Bostonians” about the work of local poets. She applied for the position when it became available last spring and was vetted— along with many other candidates— by a committee of poets and officials, including Amy Ryan, the president of the Boston Public Library.

“I’m so happy to see poetry supported this way by the city and by Mayor Walsh,” said Georges, who plans to program events at city schools.

"I lost my mother last year after an extended illness,” said Georges, who also hopes to focus some of her efforts on senior citizen. “We used services of elder care facilities and I saw how arts programming could really enhance their lives.”

Legros Georges will replace Sam Cornish, Boston’s current Poet Laureate. Cornish has served in the position since the program was established in 2008.

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