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Call for Writers: Poets of Place

St. Croix Valley Poets are invited to apply to be of the Poets of Place as part of the 2022 NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley.

Up to five (5) Poets of Place will be selected as an important part of the NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley for 2022. The Poets of Place will act as advocates and ambassadors for poetry and creativity in the lower St. Croix Valley. ArtReach St. Croix and partnering libraries created and will host the Poets of Place program.  In April 2022, NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley will host U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo in the region and we will encourage people to read An American Sunrise, Harjo’s book of lyrical poems.

The Poets of Place program embraces the diversity of human experience, identity, and literary aesthetics. The Poet of Place program seeks to be representative of the rich and diverse cultures of poetry in the region. 

The Poets of Place will be selected by December 20, 2021 and will present their new work at an event in late April 2022 at the National Park Service Visitor Center in St. Croix Falls. These poems will also be published in a chapbook along with submissions from the public, including work by poets of all ages.

All applications are welcome, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, cultural heritage, socio-economic background, physical ability or poetic sub-genre.

Learn more about the NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley and the 2022 book selection.


The Poets of Place are expected to: 

  • contribute to the awareness of poetry throughout the lower St. Croix Valley by promoting poetry and the Poets of Place program via social media and/or print media.  
  • participate in a literary event at an assigned library.
  • submit at least 4 current, unpublished poems of which 2 will be published in the chapbook, shared online and with regional media outlets.
  • attend the chapbook launch event and perform/present one or more poems.  


  • The applicant should show evidence of achievement in the art of poetry, including publications (books, literary magazines, and/or digital media).
  • The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The applicant must be a resident of the lower St. Croix Watershed (approximately between the Falls area to the confluence with the Mississippi).
  • In April 2022, the applicant must be able to reach a library audience through travel or other means and must be able and willing to attend the chapbook launch event.
  • Poets will maintain the rights to their work and may publish in another outlet. 


The following items are required as part of the application:

A.  A one-page cover letter that includes contact information and a short biography for the applicant.

B.  A work sample not to exceed six (6) pages, 8 ½ x 11, no less than a 12-point font, no more than one poem on each page. The work sample may contain information that indicates where the poem has been published or performed, or if it has received any awards for merit.

C.  A one-page explanation of what the applicant would hope to accomplish as a Poet of Place during a public library-based program, including potential ideas and target age group.

D.  (Optional) Up to two (2) pages of supplementary materials, including excerpts from published book reviews, judges’ comments, or other critical writings that help contextualize the poet’s work for the commission. Note: recommendation letters are not appropriate and will not be considered. 

Completed application packets should be saved as a single .pdf file and e-mailed to [email protected] or mailed to ArtReach St. Croix, 224 N. 4th Street, Stillwater MN 55082.

**To be considered, applications must be received by midnight on Wednesday, December 1, 2021**


The committee reviews all submitted materials and will interview finalists (via zoom) before making its final decision about the new Poets of Place.


  • The Poets of Place will each be awarded a $500 stipend, which honors the poet’s achievements and helps to defray expenses not reimbursed by ArtReach or the library where the Poet of Place is a guest. The Poet of Place is encouraged to accept honoraria or remuneration from host organizations. 
  • ArtReach St. Croix and the Big Read Committee will work with the Poet of Place and the host library to facilitate press coverage related to key activities.
  • A limited edition chapbook of the Poets of Place work will be produced.
  • The Poets of Place will be featured on St. Croix 360 website and e-newsletter.

Questions about Poets of Place or the application process? Contact [email protected]