Lloyd Schwartz Named Somerville’s Third Poet Laureate

Somerville resident and accomplished poet, Schwartz will serve a two-year term.

The City of Somerville announced this week its third Poet Laureate, Lloyd Schwartz. Schwartz is a Somerville resident with an impressive literary background including his current work as the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His poetry collections include These People; Goodnight, Gracie; Cairo Traffic; and most recently, Little Kisses (University of Chicago Press). His poems have been published in, among many other journals, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Agni, Consequence, and Ploughshares, and have been selected for the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Poetry (three times), and The Best of the Best American Poetry.

“Somerville has so much creative energy and power, and we are well known for our vibrant arts scene. Similarly, we have a talented, well-educated, and thoughtful writer’s community that needs a voice. In Lloyd Schwartz, Somerville gains a tremendous advocate and partner for the writing arts, and I am proud to welcome him as our City’s third Poet Laureate,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone.

The City created the Poet Laureate position in 2015 to enhance the profile of poets and poetry in Somerville and surrounding communities. The Poet Laureate is expected to bring poetry to segments of the community that currently have less access or exposure to poetry: senior citizens, youth, and schools. Appointed by the Mayor, the Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term and will receive an honorarium of $2,000 per year.

“Lloyd’s work is poised and insightful, and I think it will really resonate with the Somerville community,” said Gregory Jenkins, Director of the Somerville Arts Council. “He conveyed a thoughtful perspective on his approach to this position, and has a passion for promoting poetry through his teaching.  We’ve gained an impressive ambassador in Lloyd Schwartz.”

“I’m honored to have been chosen Somerville’s new poet laureate. I’ve been living and writing in—and writing about—this city for nearly 35 years. It’s come to feel like home. I love its down-to-earth spirit and its increasing inclusivity. Having spent my whole adult life bringing poetry to my students, I value the chance to encourage my neighbors to love poetry as much as I do,” said Lloyd Schwartz. 

Schwartz was chosen based on a series of criteria, including excellence in craftsmanship, professional achievement, and creating a vision for the position. A panel composed of four local poets— Doug Holder, Harris Gardner, Linda Conte, and Hilary Sallick—reviewed applicant work, interviewed candidates, and ultimately chose Schwartz. 

“As a panelist on the Somerville Art Council's Poet Laureate panel, I am pleased to announce that Lloyd Schwartz will be our new poet laureate. All panel members were impressed with Schwartz's experience, commitment, and poetry. We feel he will raise the poet laureate position to even a higher level,” said Doug Holder.