Alabama School of Fine Arts faculty member named Poet Laureate for Alabama

New Poet Laureate for Alabama
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 3:30 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Magic City Poetry Festival founder and Alabama School of Fine Arts faculty member, Ashley M. Jones, has been named the next Poet Laureate for Alabama.

The commendation was made during Sunday’s Alabama Writers Cooperative members meeting during the Cooperative’s yearly writers conference.

Jones is the first Black Poet Laureate for the state, as well as the youngest person to hold the position.

The Poet Laureate of Alabama is a four-year term in which the chosen poet serves as an ambassador of poetry for the state. Jones will tour the state to make appearances at schools, universities, libraries and other state institutions, as well as give lectures, read poetry and hold workshops on a local and national level. The position was created in 1930; the outgoing Poet Laureate is Jennifer Horne.

Jones said she is proud to serve as Alabama’s next poetry ambassador and advocate.

“When I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, I made a plan for my life as a poet, and part of that plan--a big, big dream--was to serve as Alabama State Poet Laureate,” she said. “I’m so honored to serve my home state as an ambassador, advocate, and as a lover of poetry and all the people who write it, read it, and find new magic from it in this life. I have dedicated my life so far to making poetry accessible to all, to celebrating everyone’s voice, and working to eliminate gatekeeping in our industry. I’m so excited to spend the next four years helping to make Alabama poets and poetry radiate here at home and beyond.”

Jones has released two books of poetry, Magic City Gospel and Dark//Thing. Her third book of poetry, Reparations Now!, will be released September 7 via Hub City Press.

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