Pass the Torch: Tacoma Poet Laureate Celebration

Join 2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate, Abby E. Murray, and the Tacoma Arts Commission for Pass the Torch, a virtual poetry event at which Lydia K. Valentine will be officially awarded the title of 2021-2023 Tacoma Poet Laureate. The free, public event will featured on TV Tacoma, livestreamed on the City’s Facebook page, and on Zoom.

Hear poetry from:
Lydia K. Valentine, 2021-2023 Tacoma Poet Laureate
William Kupinse, 2008 – 2009 Tacoma Poet Laureate
Antonio Edwards, Jr., 2009 – 2010 Tacoma Poet Laureate
Tammy Robacker, 2010 – 2011 Tacoma Poet Laureate
Josie Emmons Turner, 2011 – 2013 Tacoma Poet Laureate
Lucas Smiraldo, 2013 – 2015 Tacoma Poet Laureate
Thy Nguyễn, 2015 – 2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate
Kellie Richardson, 2017 – 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate
Abby E. Murray, 2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate

Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor and educator. Her proudest accomplishment, though, is being a mom to two creative, intelligent, and caring individuals and activists. In her own writing and the projects to which she contributes through Lyderary Ink, Lydia seeks to amplify the voices of those who are often stifled, ignored, and marginalized in what has been the accepted narrative of the United States.

Lydia’s first poetry collection, Brief Black Candles, was published in November 2020 by Not a
Pipe Publishing. Poems from the collection were recently showcased in the Eugene
Contemporary Art exhibit, A Critical Conversation: Art, Race, Privilege, and Place. Her writing has also appeared in online and print publications such as Angels Flight • literary west, The Pitkin Review, Shout! An Anthology of Resistance Poetry and Short Fiction, and HowlRound. She has been the recipient of various awards and recognitions. She was the 2017 poetry fellow serving Nuestras Pequeñas Rosas in San Pedro Sula, Honduras; recipient of the 2017 Goddard College Engaged Artist Award; and recipient of the 2021 Unsettling Dramaturgy Award.

Lydia is the resident dramaturg for empathos company and Toy Boat Theatre, and she maintains
ongoing partnerships with The Mahogany Project, Pork Filled Productions, and We Out Here.
She has been invited by various organizations including the African-American Writers’ Alliance,
Central Washington University, Creative Colloquy, the Hiatt Center for Civic Engagement and
Leadership, Lighthouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat, and Write253 to speak and run
workshops on topics such as equity and classroom management, social justice in the classroom,
intersectionality and identity, poetry, and playwriting.

Lydia is a faculty member of Northwest Indian College and Seattle Girls’ School. She is also a
highly sought after sensitivity/authenticity reader, developmental editor, and copyeditor and
has worked on publications such as the social justice and literary arts magazine Speak, books
such as Rough House by Tina Ontiversos, and various projects for companies such as Agate
Publishing, Forest Avenue Press, and McGraw Hill.

Information regarding the Tacoma Poet Laureate program, founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church and transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality in 2011, is available at