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Robin Coste Lewis

Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, California 2019

Robin Coste Lewis was born in Compton, California. She earned a BA from Hampshire College, a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Southern California, an MFA in creative writing from New York University, and an MTS from the Divinity School at Harvard University.

Coste Lewis is the author of To the Perfect Realization of Helplessness (Alfred A. Knopf, 2022), winner of the 2023 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection, and Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), winner of the National Book Award in Poetry.

Coste Lewis has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, and Hampshire College, and is the writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California. The recipient of a 2019 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, she was poet laureate of Los Angeles, where she resided, from 2017 to 2019. Coste Lewis currently lives in New York City, where she is the Ford Foundation scholar-in-residence at the Museum of Modern Art. 

Robin Coste Lewis
Photo credit: Kelly Miroire
Laureate Project
Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, California

Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, California

In 2019, Robin Coste Lewis was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Lewis created and conducted a "Poetic Truths and Reconciliation Commission" for the City of Los Angeles, which was a year-long experiment in redress, a series of programs (readings and conversations) that use the poetry from various Los Angeles histories/communities to engage the process of cultural, political and historical reconciliation.