You may not know it, but Greensboro has a poet.
The Greensboro City Council has appointed local spoken word performance poet, activist and author Josephus Thompson III as the City’s very first poet laureate.
This week, city residents will get a chance to see him in action.
It’s all part of the city’s pilot Poet Laureate Program. The purpose of that program, according to city officials, is “to use the art of poetry to inspire the next generation of thought leaders and creatives, and to heighten the awareness of the power of creative writing and the spoken word throughout the city.”
Wikipedia defines a poet laureate as “a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected to compose poems for special events and occasions.”
Jocquelyn Boone, Greensboro’s chief creative economy officer and the head of Creative Greensboro, said the program is meant in part to inspire residents.
“Literary arts reminds us of the beauty and power of language and cultural expression,” Boone stated in a Wednesday, Nov. 15 press release announcing the events. “I am excited to see how Thompson uses his talents to connect, entertain, and inspire people throughout the city and beyond.”
Thompson will serve as Greensboro’s poet laureate for a two-year term.
In return, he’ll receive an annual honorarium of $7,500 to produce “free and engaging culturally expansive programming throughout the city.”
This week, the city announced three events where residents can meet Thompson and hear him in action:
The Poetry Café: Youth Voices
7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, Crown Theater, 310 S. Greene St.
A free open mic for youth 10-17
The Gathering: Friends Giving
7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, Historic Magnolia House, 442 Gorrell St.
A community networking event and meal. The cost to attend is $40. Reserve your spot ahead of time if you wish to go.
The Poetry Café
8 p.m. Saturday, Nov.18, Van Dyke Performance Space, 200 N. Davie St.
Open mike for all ages. Tickets start at $15.
Founded in 2019, Creative Greensboro – through a range of programs, and partnerships – is meant to support “the development of a vibrant city.”