Jon Davis was named Santa Fe’s new poet laureate on Thursday.
Davis, chairman of the Creative Writing Department at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is the fourth person to hold the title in the city since the honorary position was created in 2005. His term lasts through June 2014.
“In a town full of terrific poets, it’s an honor to be selected and to join the lineage of the poets who have preceded me — Arthur Sze, Valerie Martinez, and Joan Logghe,” Davis said in a news release from the Santa Fe Arts Commission. “I hope to live up to the high standards they’ve set for promoting the art of poetry and serving the community of Santa Fe.”
Davis couldn’t be reached immediately, however, because he’s in Marfa, Texas, doing an artist residency, said Debra Garcia, a senior planner for the Arts Commission.
The poet laureate position is both ceremonial and educational, with the goal of promoting the presence of poetry in the city, she said. The job includes appearing at civic occasions and developing educational seminars for teachers and the public. Davis, who has lived in the city for 21 years and has taught at IAIA since 1990, was selected by the commission from a field of local poets nominated by community members. He has also been an instructor at the College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe University of Art & Design and Salisbury University in Maryland.
Davis is the author of three chapbooks (pocket-sized booklets) and three full-length collections of poetry, Preliminary Report (Copper Canyon Press, 2010); Scrimmage of Appetite (University of Akron Press, 1995), for which he was honored with a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry; and Dangerous Amusements (Ontario Review Press, 1987), for which he received a G.E. Younger Writers Award and the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the Academy of American Poets.
He has also received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Lannan Residency and a fellowship to The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. In addition to poetry, Davis has written and published short stories, reviews, essays and parodies, according to the city press release.
Garcia said she expects Davis to build on the legacy of previous poet laureates who worked on interdisciplinary collaboration such as joint projects with visual artists and others.
“I think we’ve been successful in our goal of trying to bring the literary arts to the community in an entirely new way,” she said.
The poet laureate receives an annual honorarium of up to $5,000.