The City of Orlando has announced that Shawn S. Welcome has been selected as its second Orlando Poet Laureate.
The Mayor made the selection public earlier this week and once voted on and approved by the Orlando City Council at the October 11, 2021 meeting, Welcome will be appointed and serve as a prominent fixture in the City’s cultural and literary arts communities, promoting poetry and literature among residents and visitors, replacing former Poet Laureate, Susan Lilley.
“We are excited for Shawn Welcome to use poetry and the literary arts to tell our community’s stories. There is no doubt that Orlando is a better place to live and work because of our vibrant arts and cultural scene. Our Poet Laureate will help continue to add to our City’s unique sense of place.”– ORLANDO MAYOR DYER
Welcome is a long-time Orlando resident and University of Central Florida graduate and he has been involved in the Orlando community facilitating poetic expression since 2006 through his “Diverse Word” series, a weekly poetry night he launched that features local literary artists from across Central Florida. He has worked with several ara organizations including Page 15, The Hope CommUnity Center, the Orlando Boys and Girls Club, Frontline Outreach Community Center, and more. Welcome also serves as the Programs Facilitator at the Polis Institute (Website).
As the City’s official poet, Welcome will present original poems at City events and expand the city’s “Words and Wonders” Poetry Contest initiated by Orlando’s first poet laureate, the aforementioned Susan Lilley.
After being appointed in October, Welcome will serve a three-year term.