The poet laureate is the poetic voice of our City and will participate in public events, platforms, speak to the public about poetry and literary arts, and do outreach to youth and adults. They will serve as an active advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature in the community.
Introducing Poet Laureate Z
The Lafayette Cultural Arts Commission is proud to announce ZBassSpeaks, also known as just Z, to the honorary position of Lafayette Poet Laureate beginning their 2-year term this April. The City of Lafayette Poet Laureate was appointed on Tuesday, April 19, by Mayor Mangat following the recommendation of the selection panel.
Z is a multi-lingual, twin spirited Indigenous writer and performer for more than 15 years, whose notable engagements and awards include a three-time Winner Michael Adams Poetry Prize, Empowerment Center of East County Award, Boulder Valley School District's Latino Youth Leadership Conference Guest Facilitator, Lafayette's Annual Cesar Chavez Convivio 2017, Featured Guest for KGNU 2010- 2022, and CTC Art & Activism Poetry Workshop 2019 and 2020.
With strong ties to the community, and particularly Lafayette’s youth, through their work with the Empowerment Center of East County, Lafayette Public Library, Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee, and Sister Carmen Community Center, Z will connect a wholly inclusive Lafayette audience with contemporary means of writing, performing and disseminating poetry through readings, hosted events, educational workshops, multimedia projects, and inclusion oriented outreach initiatives, all honoring the artistic excellence of our community.
The selection committee was electrified by Z’s commanding presence, powerful use of language that speaks with urgency to issues of our time, and the passion they exude for the Lafayette community - its people, its history, and its future through the art of storytelling. The Lafayette Cultural Arts Commission is in full support of Z’s work and vision and is thrilled for the future of the Lafayette Poet Laureate program under Z’s leadership.
Read Z's poem written about their designation as Lafayette’s Poet Laureate
Mi Tierra de Colorado
Upon the kisses that the sun greets me with.
Let the sounds of birds and the squeaks of groundhogs spring the morning.
Tattoo my streets with paint of every color.
Stain the air with the sweet perfume smell of peaches.
Fill my veins with the sound of music and joy even when the stars dot coming night.
Breathe in the crispy cold air.
Por yo soy.
For I am.
I am home of the Arapaho Nation and the tribe of Balam Na.
Soy tierra Chicano.
Con tierra de color rojo.
Y corazón lleno de Oro.
I am the rock mined Coal Creek.
Home to miners and travelers alike for you are welcome here.
The people who run the morning trail at Waneka.
The plaza place of gathering.
The resting place of a mysterious vampire.
I am the honoring spirit with names like John Breaux, Rose Lueras, and many more.
As the full moon sets upon this valley.
May the lights match the stars for I am still awake.
My dreams, filled with ice cream and pizza.
Hear the coyotes howl at night.
Let the owl sing a lullaby.
Sing you good night.
I welcome you, to my home Lafayette.
Lafayette Poet Laureate Program
The Lafayette Poet Laureate program was established to promote Lafayette’s creative, diverse, and eclectic identity by celebrating and fostering an appreciation of poetry, literacy, and by honoring outstanding Lafayette poets. The Lafayette Poet Laureate is an honorary position whose role is to promote the literary arts and literacy within Lafayette.
The Lafayette Poet Laureate is responsible for producing, sharing, and promoting poetry throughout their term. Funded by Arts & Cultural Resources, this is a two-year position with a stipend of $2500 per term. The poet laureate may be reappointed for an additional term.
Poetry helps us appreciate the world around us, connects us with others, helps us empathize with other points of view, and strengthens our values. It can delight us, help us express ourselves, and come to terms with life challenges and difficulties. This program provides a way to help our community through hard times, celebrate our successes, and take pleasure in our daily lives.