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Knoxville Poet Laureate

Knoxville has a long and rich literary heritage. George Washington Harris’s Knoxville-based tales of Sut Lovingood were an influence on Mark Twain, William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of “The Secret Garden,” wrote her first novel in Knoxville based on her experiences as adolescent here. Pulitzer Prize winners James Agee and Cormac McCarthy both grew up in Knoxville, and the city figures prominently in their works. Poet Nikki Giovanni is a Knoxville native who attended Austin High School here and has often written about her memories of the city.

The Arts & Culture Alliance Poet Laureate Program aims to extend and build on its rich literary heritage by recognizing and supporting citizen poets of exceptional talent and accomplishment. Each Poet Laureate serves a term of one year with the City’s option to renew for one additional year. During this time, the Poet Laureate serves as a public voice of Knoxville, creating city specific works and participating in literary outreach and educational programs. The Poet Laureate is encouraged to nurture appreciation of poetry and literature by conducting public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations in neighborhoods, schools, colleges, universities, and other public settings in geographically diverse areas of the city.

Learn more about the Poet Laureate Program

R.B. Morris
R.B. Morris
City's first Poet Laureate

Learn more about R.B. Morris
Marilyn Kallet
Marilyn Kallet
City's second Poet Laureate

Learn more about Marilyn Kallet
Rhea Carmon
Rhea Carmon
City's third Poet Laureate

Learn more about Rhea Carmon
Black Atticus
Black Atticus
City's fourth Poet Laureate

Learn more about Black Atticus