City of Minneapolis appoints first-ever Poet Laureate

A widely esteemed Indigenous poet and author has been appointed as Minneapolis’ first-ever Poet Laureate.

Heid E. Erdrich has made art and taught as both a professor and in the community for decades, in addition to receiving numerous awards for her work and visiting dozens of colleges, universities, and tribal and cultural institutions as a guest speaker.

As the city’s Poet Laureate, Erdrich will use the power of words to engage with all communities across Minneapolis through readings, workshops, and culturally significant initiatives, according to a news release issued Wednesday from the City of Minneapolis.

Erdrich, who is Ojibwe and enrolled at Turtle Mountain, previously won the National Poetry Series with “Little Big Bully” and has received two Minnesota Book Awards, in addition to fellowships from the Library of Congress, National Poetry Series, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, The Loft Literacy Fund, First People’s Fund, and more, according to the news release.

Erdrich expressed her excitement for the appointment, saying, “Minneapolis is a city of poetry—the home of great poets and publishers of poetry—and it is a great honor to serve as the inaugural Poet Laureate. It is especially gratifying for me as an Anishinaabe woman to acknowledge that Indigenous people, particularly the Dakota, were the first poets of this place. In my role as Poet Laureate I will include Indigenous poets in all I do. I am grateful for the honor. Miigwech!”

Erdrich is set to be honored on Jan. 8 at Minneapolis’ first City Council meeting of 2024. A public celebration at The Loft Literacy Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. is happening Jan. 18.

According to the city, Erdrich will receive an annual honorarium of $8,000, and have a budget of $2,000 to plan and execute a civic duty project that engages and serves the Minneapolis community through poetry.

For more information on Erdrich and the appointment of Poet Laureate, CLICK HERE.