Dr. Mag Gabbert named the second Dallas Poet Laureate Naisha Randhar awarded Youth Poet Laureate Title

Dr. Mag Gabbert named the second Dallas Poet Laureate Naisha Randhar awarded Youth Poet Laureate Title

Mayor Eric Johnson named Dr. Mag Gabbert the city’s second Poet Laureate in a special ceremony Wednesday morning at Dallas City Hall. Naisha Randhar, a student at The Hockaday School, was named Youth Poet Laureate. 

Over a two-year term, Gabbert will represent the City of Dallas as an ambassador of the literary arts by presenting her original poems at schools and community events. She will develop outreach initiatives to engage and inspire the Dallas community to read, write, perform and appreciate the written and spoken word. Gabbert will hold regular artist-in-residence office hours at the Central Library. 

A Dallas native and graduate of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Gabbert is the author of a full-length book of poetry, SEX DEPRESSION ANIMALS, published last year and winner of the 2021 Charles B. Wheeler Prize in Poetry. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Discovery Award from the Unterberg Poetry Center and fellowships from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Idyllwild Arts and Poetry at Round Top. Her work has been published in The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review Daily and more than 50 other magazines and journals.  

Currently a clinical assistant professor at SMU, Gabbert has an MFA from University of California Riverside and a PhD in English from Texas Tech.  

Youth Poet Laureate Naisha Randhar will hold the title for one year. She will work with the Dallas Poet Laureate to encourage youth poetry. A 9th grade student at The Hockaday School, Randhar participates in debate and Model UN, she runs track, and she volunteers as a tutor at Joe May Elementary every week. A voracious reader and writer, Randhar wrote and self-published a fantasy novel when she was twelve. 

Dallas Public Library, the Office of Arts & Culture and Deep Vellum launched the Dallas poet laureate program in June 2021 to recognize exemplary poetry and the poet’s role in sharing poetry with the greater community. The program is funded by the Friends of Dallas Public Library, Inc, the Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation, Office of Arts & Culture and Deep Vellum.  

Visit www.dallaslibrary.org/poetry for complete details on the Poet Laureate program. Dallas Public Library operates the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library and 29 branch locations, serving more than 9 million visitors each year. A library card is free for any Dallas resident. For information on the many free programs and services available at Dallas Public Library, visit www.dallaslibrary.org

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