13:23 PM

Associate Professor Robin Davidson Named Houston's Poet Laureate

Robin Davidson, Ph.D., associate professor of English, this week was named Houston's second poet laureate.

Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker and Houston Public Library Director Rhea Brown Lawson, Ph.D., presented Davidson with a proclamation at City Hall on Tuesday. Davidson was a finalist for poet laureate in 2014, the first year the City of Houston established the honor.

During her two-year appointment, Davidson will work with the city and mayor to highlight the importance and beauty of poetry and develop a community outreach project for Houston's many diverse neighborhoods and businesses. She will conduct workshops to share her love of poetry and educate Houstonians on the many benefits of writing and reading poetry. Davidson also will publish content to the Houston Poet Laureate Program website, including poems created by participants of her workshops.

Additionally, she will work closely with UHD to promote the University's own literacy outreach across the city and help to integrate poetry into Houston's annual Citizenship Month in November, co-sponsored by UHD.

"Selecting Houston's second poet laureate was quite challenging because all the submissions we received were extraordinary! They showed what amazingly talented and creative people we have in Houston," said Mayor Parker. "Today, I'm excited to announce that we have selected award-winning poet Dr. Robin Davidson as Houston's next poet laureate. She has studied with and among academic poets, has taught writing for both universities and community organizations and she is eager to start building bridges in Houston's diverse communities through the art of poetry."

Davidson has published two poetry chapbooks, including "Kneeling in the Dojo," and "City that Ripens on the Tree of the World," and one poetry collection entitled, "Luminous Other."

"I am honored and grateful to have been selected and given the opportunity to represent Houston as its second poet laureate," said Davidson. "One of poetry's greatest strengths is its capacity to engender human empathy in the reader, the listener, the writer. To give us a chance to tell our story and to genuinely hear the stories of others - this is the labor of poetry. As poet laureate, I hope to serve all Houstonians by listening to the stories they have to share and promoting the art of poetry - its thrilling engagement with language - as deeply relevant to each of our lives."

As poet laureate, Davidson will receive an annual honorarium of $5,000 from the Houston Arts Alliance.

"As president of UHD, I am both thrilled for Dr. Davidson's well-deserved recognition and humbled that one of our own valued faculty members has earned such an exemplary honor," said Bill Flores, Ph.D. "She is a shining example of the high caliber of faculty talent at our University and the major opportunities we are able to offer students."