To enhance the profile of poets, poetry, and literary arts in the ACC community and beyond, Athens established the community Poet Laureate program in 2021.

The intention of the Poet Laureate is to bring poetry to segments of the community that have traditionally had less access or exposure to poetry such as senior citizens or at-risk youth. Ultimately, the Poet Laureate program goal is to spike interest in poetry, teach writing poetry, and use poetry as a means of self-expression in Athens-Clarke County.

The Poet Laureate position is administered by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC). The Poet Laureate serves for a two-year term and is provided an honorarium of $2,000. A committee, comprised of art administrators, educators, librarians, and local poets review applications and select the final poet based on the following criteria: excellence in craftsmanship, vision for the position, professional achievement in the field of poetry, and a history of actively elevating the visibility of poetry in the community.

2021 Poet Laureate

Jeff Fallis has lived in Athens since 1995 and studied under poets such as Coleman Barks and Kevin Young. Fallis has dreamed of how to “connect the literary world in Athens with its wild and vibrant music and visual arts scenes.” Fallis is known for his readings (sometimes as an opening act for local bands), co-curating the VOX Reading Series, educating students of all ages and even penned the introduction for a collection of poems by John Seawright.

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