The city of Seattle has named Claudia Castro Luna as Seattle’s first civic poet.
Luna, who was born in El Salvador, was a 2014 Jack Straw fellow and is a recent recipient of a King County 4Culture grant. Her poems have appeared in Milvia Street, The Womanist, Riverbabble, and forthcoming in the Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, according to Mayor Ed Murray’s office.
According to the mayor’s office, as civic poet Luna will “serve as an ambassador for Seattle’s rich literary landscape and represents the city’s diverse cultural community.”
She will serve a two year term from August 2015 to August 2017.
“Claudia brings a fresh perspective and a deep commitment to engaging the community through her poetry,” Murray said in a statement. “We are a literary city and we’re excited to have an accomplished poet that will celebrate and inspire us through her creativity.”
Luna will perform at the 2015 and 2016 Mayor’s Art Awards, in addition to five community performances and workshops throughout the city.
After coming to the U.S. as a young teenager, fleeing civil war, Luna completed a Master of Arts in Urban Planning, a teaching degree, and a Master of Fine Arts in poetry. She is also a K-12 certified teacher with a passion for arts education and teaching immigrants.
In 2012, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Mills College. She writes and teaches in Seattle, where she gardens and raises chickens with her husband and their three children.
Luna also will participate in the Seattle Public Library’s Sharing Our Voices project. The Library will commission three original poems, record Luna reading her poems and record an oral interview with her identifying the inspiration and creation process inherent in poetry. The recordings will be added to the Library collection, according to the Mayor’s Office.
In previous Seattle poetry news, a visiting professor in the University of Washington’s American Ethnic Studies program, Juan Felipe Herrera was announced as the 2015-16 U.S. poet laureate by the Library of Congress in June.