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Sacramento Poet Laureate Program

Within the poets' bag of magic/madness
There is a poem
For the damaged dream
As beautiful as the one
For the dream fulfilled.
- Jose Montoya, Sacramento Poet Laureate, 2002-04

The Sacramento Poet Laureate Program was established in February 2000 and is designed to extend and bring to life the power and beauty of poetry and the spoken word to our community. The Sacramento Poet Laureate Program strives to encourage literary awareness by the general public. Sacramento's immediate past Poet Laureate is Jeff Knorr. Other past Poets Laureate include  Jeff Knorr, Bob Stanley, Julia Connor, Jose Montoya, Dennis Schmitz and Viola Weinberg.

26 September 2019 

Sacramento’s 6th Poet Laureate, Indigo Moor, steps down on December 31, 2019.

Indigo MoorIndigo Moor is a poet, playwright and author currently residing in Sacramento, CA.  Born and raised near Charlotte, N.C., Moor is a multi-genre artist who has published books of poetry including “Tap-Root,” “Through the Stonecutter’s Window” and “In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers.”  His second book of poetry, Through the Stonecutter's Window, won Northwestern University Press's Cave Canem prize.  His first book, Tap-Root, was published as part of Main Street Rag's Editor's Select Poetry Series.  Three of his short plays, Harvest, Shuffling, and The Red and Yellow Quartet debuted at the 60 Million Plus Theatre’s Spring Playwright’s festival. His stageplay, Live! at the Excelsior, was a finalist for the Images Theatre Playwright Award and is being made into a full length film.  A graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Program—where he studied poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting--Indigo is also a graduate member of the Artist's Residency Institute for Teaching Artists and former Vice President of the Sacramento Poetry Center. Winner of the 2005 Vesle Fenstermaker Prize for Emerging Writers, a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee, and 2008 Jack Kerouac Poetry contest, Indigo's other honors include: finalist finishes for the T.S. Eliot Prize, Crab Orchard First Book Prize, Saturnalia First Book Award, Naomi Long Madgett Book Award, and WordWorks Prize. Indigo’s newest adventure is a series of multi-disciplinary art events titled Renegade Literati the celebrates writers, poets, musicians, and visual artists in the Sacramento area.

Sacramento is looking for its next Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate

The City of Sacramento Poet Laureate 2020-2022
Applications open October 7 for poets residing in Sacramento County to submit for the position of Sacramento Poet Laureate. The Sacramento Poet Laureate program brings the power and beauty of poetry to the Sacramento community while increasing awareness of the literary arts through community engagement and outreach. The Poet Laureate title is an honorary one, awarded through a competitive process to a person who writes poetry of high artistic quality, has an established presence in Sacramento, a demonstrated commitment to and a passion for poetry, and embraces the opportunity to engage in civic discourse. The ideal candidate enjoys inspiring audiences and the community through readings of his/her work and the works of others and mentoring the next generation of poets.

A poet is honored with the title of Poet Laureate to distinguish a career in writing exemplary poetry and for the role they have played in sharing poetry with the broader community. The Poet Laureate will act as an ambassador of the literary arts by reading poems and giving talks at public schools, City Council and County Board meetings and other community organizations. The Poet Laureate will serve as a mentor to the Youth Poet Laureate, who is selected annually in partnership with Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS).

The deadline to apply for Sacramento’s Poet Laureate 2020-2022 is November 8, 2019. For full guidelines, click here.

Applications are now open. Please visit to apply.

Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate 2020

The Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) Program provides a platform that promotes youth voice, civic engagement, political literacy and community building. Through this endeavor, we aim to push the literary arts and poetry aesthetic to include young people's voices, ideas, beliefs and their values that are significantly under-represented and marginalized.

In close partnership with Urban Word and support from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, together we can move youth voices into the center of civic engagement. The Youth Poet Laureate will perform extensively throughout Sacramento including school and community events, will be requested to speak at City of Sacramento convenings and have various performance/speaking engagements throughout their year tenure of being the Youth Poet Laureate. The YPL will also curate and produce their own youth and art centered event that will be focused around a social justice cause that they are passionate about.

Becoming the next Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate automatically enters you into National Youth Poet Laureate competition! The National Youth Poet Laureate program powered by Urban Word, celebrates our nation’s top youth poets that are committed to artistic excellence, civic engagement and social justice. The National Youth Poet Laureate program works with local literary arts organizations across the United States to identify and celebrate exceptional youth poets who use their voice to inspire change. This program is supported by The Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, The Library of Congress, The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Parks Service, Cave Canem and many more. The Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate will also be featured and published in the National Youth Poet Laureate Anthology published by PenMenShip Books.

The personal, the artistic, and the community become equal partners in the success stories of our young people. It is the success of our youth that we honor as authentic change in a city’s evolving cultural milieu (as opposed to the negative media-influenced portrayals of our youth), and we believe this success will be a part of the tapestry of Sacramento's brilliance.

The deadline to apply for The Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate 2020 is November 8, 2019. Youth must be between the ages of 14-19 and reside within the county of Sacramento. To apply, youth must have five original poems, a video link of a poetry performance, a resume and/or cv, and possess the leadership skills needed to be the youth poetic representative of Sacramento. Applications can be found here:

Please direct any questions for the Youth Poet Laureate to Patrice Hill at