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Why Lansing thinks a poet could help with economic development

Feb 6, 2017

Pop quiz: Who is the poet laureate of Michigan?
 

The state of Michigan hasn't had a poet laureate since 1959 when Edgar Guest (pictured in 1935) passed away.
Credit Wikipedia / NBC Radio

Sorry, but that's a trick question. The state hasn't had a state poet laureate since Edgar Guest died in 1959.

So, we're getting piecemeal poets laureates around the state – in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit and Grand Rapids, for instance. Now, add Lansing to that list.

For the first time, the poetry community in our Capitol city is searching for Lansing's own poet laureate.

Today, Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and a member of the Lansing Poetry Club, and Anita Skeen, director of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Center for Poetry at Michigan State University, joined Stateside to talk about the search.

Having a poet laureate means adding to Lansing's "placemaking" efforts, Trezise said. "Placemaking" means finding ways to attract and retain talent in an area. 

"Placemaking – poet laureates and art and cultural development, river trails  are all symbolic of a region that is international, is diverse, is global, is wealthy, is prosperous, is fun," Trezise said. "A place where talent wants to be. And that is what's going to grow business ultimately." 

Listen to the interview above to understand how a poet laureate could play a role in economic development. You'll also learn why poets in the city want to establish the honorary position.

For more information, or to apply, click here.

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