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Ashley M. Jones (’15) & Airea D. Matthews (’16) Appointed Poets Laureate

(l-r): Ashley M. Jones (photo: Amarr Croskey) and Airea D. Matthews

Ashley M. Jones (’15) (Reparations Now!) was appointed Poet Laureate of Alabama, 2022-2026. She is the State’s first Black poet and its youngest to hold this post. She lives in Birmingham and is on the creative writing faculty at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and Converse University Low-Residency MFA Program. She also recently served as a guest editor for Poetry Magazine.

“I’m so honored to serve my home state as an ambassador, advocate, and as a lover of poetry and all the people who write it, read it, and find new magic from it in this life. I have dedicated my life so far to making poetry accessible to all, to celebrating everyone’s voice, and working to eliminate gatekeeping in our industry. I’m so excited to spend the next four years helping to make Alabama poets and poetry radiate here at home and beyond.”

Airea D. Matthews (’16) (Simulacra) was named Philadelphia’s 2022-23 Poet Laureate. Matthews is assistant professor and co-director of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College.

"As Philadelphia’s sixth Poet Laureate, Airea D. Matthews embodies the collaborative and maverick spirit of Philadelphia’s literary community. Reading or listening to Airea’s work is an embodied experience, where language is a thick, sinewy, and fierce offering. Airea is a poet who is unafraid of the shadows or strangeness of questions. Her work experiments with the edges of narrative and embraces the complexities and joy at the center of a life of poetry. Her poems seem to beg the question of what a poem is, what shape it can take, and what music it can invent,” announced the Free Library of Philadelphia.



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