Houston Poet Laureate

Photo credit Tony Davidson

Houston Poet Laureate Program

The City of Houston Poet Laureate Program celebrates Houston’s rich culture and diversity through the work of a poet who represents Houston by creating excitement about the written and spoken word as well as outreach activities, special programs, teaching and their individual works. The role of the Houston Poet Laureate is to stimulate poetic impulse, foster appreciation of poetry in all its forms, and serve Houston residents and visitors with expressions of culture through words.

Throughout his or her tenure, the Houston Poet Laureate develops a Community Outreach project aimed at all of Houston’s neighborhoods and residents, conducts workshops that share the written and spoken word and participates in various community based poetry programs.

Houston’s current Poet Laureate is Dr. Robin Davidson. Her Community Outreach Project is the development of an anthology book of Houston residents’ favorite poetry. This project is modeled after former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s national Favorite Poem Project anthology, Americans’ Favorite Poems.

The Houston Poet Laureate Program is developed and coordinated by the Houston Public Library and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The Houston Poet Laureate Program is funded by the City of Houston City’s Initiative Grant Program.

Favorite Poem Project Houston

Dr. Robin Davidson’s Community Outreach project showcases the best-loved poems of Houstonians. More information about this project can be found at  Houston Favorite Poem Project. Read Dr. Davidson's blogpost about the Favorite Poem Project published on our website in June 2016. 

2015 - 2017 Poet Laureate: Dr. Robin Davidson

Born in Trieste, Italy, to American parents, Dr. Davidson is a poet, translator, and professor of English and creative writing at the University of Houston-Downtown. She holds a B.A. in French from the University of Texas at Austin, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. She is the author of Luminous Other (Ashland Poetry Press, 2013) which won the 2012 Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, as well as two chapbooks: City that Ripens on the Tree of the World (Calypso Editions) and Kneeling in the Dojo (Finishing Line Press). She is co-translator, with Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska, of The New Century: Poems by Ewa from the Polish (Northwestern University Press).

In 2003 - 2004 Dr. Davidson served as Fulbright professor of American literature at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. Her poems and translations have appeared in such American literary journals as AGNIThe Paris ReviewGulf Coast, Tampa Review91st MeridianLiterary Imagination, and Words Without Borders. She is the recipient of a 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Translation. She currently teaches creative writing as professor of English for the University of Houston-Downtown, and serves as the faculty advisor for UHD’s literary and visual arts magazine, The Bayou Review. She served as president of the board of directors for the Writers in the Schools program from 2008 – 2010, and is currently a board director for the literary press Calypso Editions. She also is the recipient of a 2009 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant for her poetry.

Previous Houston Poet Laureate

Gwendolyn Zepeda