On Monday, the Orlando City Council appointed Susan Lilley as the City of Orlando's first Poet Laureate. Lilley will serve as a prominent fixture in the City's cultural and literary arts communities, promoting poetry and an appreciation of poetry among residents.
"We are excited for Susan to use the literary arts to tell our community's stories," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. "There is no doubt that Orlando is a better place to live and work because of our vibrant arts and cultural scene, and the Poet Laureate will help continue to add to our City's unique sense of place."
A teacher at Trinity Prep and published poet, Lilley is a past winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Award and a recipient of a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. Her interest in literature began early during her education in Central Florida's public schools. Lilley has taught at Rollins College and the University of Central Florida, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees.
As the City's official storyteller, Lilley will present original works of poetry at City events and youth activities to inspire emerging generations of literary artists and readers.
The process to select the Poet Laureate was developed through a partnership with United Arts of Central Florida and Orlando-based nonprofit publisher Burrow Press. A Poet Laureate Selection Committee consisting of distinguished local poets, scholars and literary experts reviewed 49 applicants based on artistic merit of literary work samples, experience and background.