Josie Emmons Turner, a humanities and creative writing teacher from Clover Park High School, was named the 2011-13 Poet Laureate of Tacoma. Over the next two years, Turner will provide free poetry related workshops, readings at public events and help plan and facilitate Art at Work Week.
Turner is a life-long lover of poetry and prose. She vividly remembers her father reading Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” each night before bedtime.
“I am working to instill an appreciation of literature and poetry in my students,” said Turner. “In addition to building their self confidence through writing, many of my students are trying something completely new and realizing that it’s ok if their work isn’t perfect. My hope is that they will learn to see the world from a broader perspective.”
Turner earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from Seattle University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing through the Rainier Writers Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Her work has been published in 20/20 Tacoma in Images and Verse, 2010 Floating Bridge Review no. 3, In Tahoma’s Shadow, the California Quarterly and Backstreet Review.
The Tacoma Poet Laureate program was founded in 2008 by the Urban Grace Church, and is now managed by the City of Tacoma Arts Commission. This year is also the first laureateship to be a two-year position. Turner will be officially instated at a public ceremony and reading in conjunction with National Poetry Month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28 at Bellaballs Studio.
More information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program is available on the Tacoma Arts Commission’s website, www.tacomaculture.org.