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Professor named Boise's first Poet Laureate

College of Idaho professor and Boise resident Diane Raptosh has been selected as Boise’s first Poet Laureate, the city’s Department of Arts & History announced today, Jan. 15.

Raptosh, a professor of English and the Eyck-Berringer Chair at The College of Idaho, is the recipient of a number of honors and awards in the field of poetry and is the author of American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press, 2013) among other works.

A search committee unanimously selected her from many fine poets submitted for consideration, citing Raptosh’s depth of experience in writing and presenting poetry, her stellar reputation, and her compelling vision for the city’s first Poet Laureate.

"Poets aim to be the utmost caretakers of language and in this capacity hope to reach – and reach out to – others: college students and community members, as well as those outside our collective line of vision," Raptosh said. 

As Boise's first Poet Laureate, Raptosh hopes to extend much of the work she already strives to do through the courses she teaches at The College of Idaho, such as her Prison Experience course, in which students read prison-related texts in sociology and literature and write in response to those readings and their visits to local correctional institutions.

"One of my goals is to raise awareness of the power of the written word to people on the margins: people who are in prisons, juvenile detention centers and women's safe houses," she said. "These are some of the places where, as Boise's first Poet Laureate, I will be offering workshops."

As Boise Poet Laureate, Raptosh will create and read three new works pertinent to BOISE 150 themes of environment, enterprise, and community at selected BOISE 150 events. She will also present a reading and discussion of work as part of National Poetry Month in April in the Sesqui-Shop (BOISE 150 headquarters), and other specially identified opportunities will be announced during the coming year.

Raptosh’s first reading will be on February 9, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Summit Auditorium at the Boise Centre as part of a BOISE 150 event, "Placing Boise in the American West." The event is free and open to the public.

Boise’s Department of Arts & History noted that as Poet Laureate, Raptosh will develop outreach activities that will bring the power of poetry to Boise, particularly citizens in underserved areas. Those activities might include readings, workshops and other literary events at educational institutions and civic and cultural venues. The Poet Laureate also will be called upon to present poems at ceremonial occasions and official city events such as Boise 150 commemoration activities, Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Art & History, and others.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.