The City of Minneapolis’ Arts & Cultural Affairs Department and The Loft Literary Center announced the appointment of Heid E. Erdrich as the first-ever city Poet Laureate, marking a significant milestone in the city’s cultural and literary landscape.
The new arts ambassador will serve in the inaugural role for the duration of 2024, kicking off her tenure at the January 8 City Council Meeting followed by a public celebration on January 18 at the Loft
A widely esteemed poet, author, and advocate, Erdrich brings an illustrious and influential body of work and life experience to this role. Erdrich’s career encompasses a series of acclaimed poetry collections, including the National Poetry Series winner Little Big Bully.
Erdrich is Ojibwe, enrolled at Turtle Mountain, and in addition to her own work has edited multiple collections amplifying the work of other Indigenous writers. Erdrich has received two Minnesota Book Awards, as well as fellowships and awards from the Library of Congress, National Poetry Series, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, The Loft Literary Center, First People’s Fund, and others.
Erdrich has taught and practiced multidisciplinary art for decades, both as a professor and in community. She has visited dozens of colleges and universities, libraries, and tribal and cultural institutions as a guest speaker and teacher. Her keen interest in visual poetics and ekphrasis has led to multiple collaborations, curations, and installations around Native American art.
“Minneapolis is a city of arts and creativity – and our new Poet Laureate will help inspire our community through the power of words,” Mayor Frey said. “I look forward to welcoming Heid E. Erdrich to this role – and seeing her use language to inspire and unite our community.”
Erdrich shared her gratitude and excitement at the new role, “Minneapolis is a city of poetry – the home of great poets and publishers of poetry – and it is a great honor to serve as the inaugural Poet Laureate. It is especially gratifying for me as an Anishinaabe woman to acknowledge that Indigenous people, particularly the Dakota, were the first poets of this place. In my role as Poet Laureate I will include Indigenous poets in all I do. I am grateful for the honor. Miigwech!”
As the Poet Laureate, Erdrich will champion the power of words, engaging with diverse communities across Minneapolis through readings, workshops, and initiatives that celebrate the city’s cultural tapestry.
Erdrich’s appointment marks a pivotal moment in Minneapolis’ cultural heritage, heralding a new era of literary engagement and artistic appreciation for generations to come.
Heid E. Erdrich has authored several poetry collections, including Little Big Bully, a National Poetry Series winner. Erdrich edited New Poets of Native Nations anthology from Graywolf Press and has received many honors, including the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress and a National Artists Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She regularly serves as a visiting writer and recently taught a term at Dartmouth College as a scholar of Native American Literature. Heid is Ojibwe, enrolled at Turtle Mountain.
• January 8: Heid E. Erdrich will be honored at the first City Council meeting, where she will present a new poem written specially for the occasion.
• January 18: A public celebration at The Loft Literary Center, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.