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Arlington Poet Laureate Wins $50,000 Scholarship – Official Arlington County Virginia Government Site

Posted on August 02, 2022



Arlington County Poet Laureate Receives $50,000 Academy of American Poets Fellowship

Holly Karapetkova, award-winning poet and professor at Marymount University, will launch a poetry anthology for young people in Arlington.

The American Academy of Poets Selected Arlington Poet Laureate, Award-Winning Poet and Professor at Marymount University Holly Karapetkovafor a 2022 American Academy of Poets Laureate Fellowship.

The $50,000 Prizes are awarded to honor poets of literary merit nominated for civic office and to enable them to undertake meaningful, impactful and innovative projects that engage their fellow citizens, including young people, with poetry, helping to solve important problems for their communities, as well as creating new works. The scholarships were established in partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Learn more about the 2019 Laureate Poet Fellows, 2020 Laureate Poet Fellowsand 2021 Laureate Poet Fellows and their civic projects.

The majority of the prize money will fund a project that Karapetkova had already started: a Arlington Youth Poetry Anthology. With seed capital from Arlington Arts, Karapetkova has formed partnerships with DC’s hip hop-based educational nonprofit. Words beat lifeand the local nonprofit and publisher eighth day. Arlington County Public School students and students who live in Arlington County are invited to submit poems. The anthology will be complemented by a series of readings and workshops featuring the published poets, as well as lesson plans and reading experiences designed to engage young people through poetry.

As Poet Laureate, I feel a strong desire to raise the voice of young people in my community and to use poetry as a way to bring people together, find a sense of community and healing.says Karapetkova, taking note of the unstable political discourse and the pandemic that have marked the past few years. “In times of distress, poetry provides a language for our pain and frustration and an outlet for the expression of our grief and anger. It can provide a means of healing.

Serving as an advocate for poetry and the literary arts, Karapetkova’s charge is to elevate Arlingtonians’ awareness and appreciation of poetry in its written and spoken forms. She reflected on the work of encouraging and edifying young poets during her tenure. As such, with the support of Words Beats Life, Karapetkova launched an Arlington Youth Laureate, Charlotte Maleski, in February 2021. Kashvi Ramani assumes the title of Arlington Youth Laureate for 2022, but Maleski will continue as co-editor of the anthology. Karapetkova has spearheaded new projects such as Visual Verse, a month-long traveling exhibition that projected works by Poets Laureate from the United States of America, Virginia, Washington DC and Young Poet Laureate from DC. She judged the adult iteration of Arlington’s Moving Words Poetry Contest, which places winning poems by local poets on Arlington Transit ART buses. Karapetkova has also participated in poetry readings at events such as the 2021 Rosslyn Jazz Festival and the 2022 Columbia Pike Blues Festival.

Poetry has the power to capture the spirit and immediacy of the moment as powerfully as a photographsays Arlington Director of Cultural Affairs Michelle Isabelle-Stark, who adds that the honor of the Academy speaks volumes about Ms. Karapetkova’s esteem in the field. “This award will help support our Poet Laureate’s efforts to amplify the voices of the next generation of poets in Arlington and is an invaluable gift to our community.


About Holly Karapetkova

Karapetkova is the author of two award-winning books of poetry, Towline, winner of Cloudbank Books’ Vern Rutsala Prize for Poetry, and Words We Might One Day Say, winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House Prize for Poetry. Her poetry, prose, and translations have recently appeared in The Southern Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, Poetry Northwest, and many other places. She is a professor in the Department of Literature and Languages ​​at Marymount University in Arlington where she lives with her husband and two children. Karapetkova’s nomination follows that of Arlington’s first Poet Laureate, Katherine E. Young, who was nominated in 2016.

About Arlington Arts

Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, offers public activities and programs under the name Arlington Arts. The division’s mission is to create, support and promote the arts, connecting artists and the community to reflect Arlington’s diversity. Cultural Affairs provides material support to artists and arts organizations in the form of grants, facilities and theater technology; integrates award-winning public art into the county’s built environment; and presents high-quality interpretive, literary, visual and new media programs across the county.


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