Galena Library Prepares to Name Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Finalists - Daniel Dahlquist, Lynn Werner, and Theodore Williams

For the past several months the Galena Public Library has been working with the City of Galena, the Galena School District, and the Galena Center for the Arts to find Galena's first Poet Laureate. Two representatives from each organization made up a Poet Laureate Selection Committee.

Galena will be the smallest city in the nation to appoint a Poet Laureate. The position will entail working in the community to celebrate the heritage, uniqueness, diversity, and achievements of the City of Galena through the appreciation and art of poetry. 

Adult services librarian, Larissa Distler, first had the idea to find a Poet Laureate for Galena when she worked with City of Madison Poet Laureate Angela Trudell Vasquez during Galena LitFest 2023. Vasquez performed a reading. With a strong history in the arts and performance, Galena seemed the perfect fit for its own  poetical position. 

Applications from community poets twenty-five years of age and older were accepted between February 1 and 28, 2024. The selection committee then met to narrow the applicants to three finalists - Daniel Dahlquist, Lynn Werner, and Theodore Williams. Those finalists were each interviewed. During the process, aside from a background in written poetry, the committee particularly emphasized experience in performance and community engagement as necessary criteria.

“I’m so excited to start working with the Poet Laureate,” says Distler. “This will be an opportunity for Galena to really engage with poetry and literature in an accessible, community oriented way. Each finalist has a lot to bring to the table.”

On April 17 at 6 pm, an appointment ceremony will be held at the Galena Center for the Arts. Before each finalist performs and an announcement is made, there will be a reception at which sparkling wine will be served and music will be performed by pianist Desiree Irwin.