Jonathan Mayers has been named the new Baton Rouge Poet Laureate.
Mayers, who will receive a $ 5,000 grant funded by private donations, will use his poetry for programs to promote and teach written work.
The appointment, made by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, is for one year.
A native of Baton Rouge, Mayers is a writer, visual artist and cultural activist who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Painting and Drawing from LSU and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of the New Orleans.
“As a Louisiana Creole, my hopes in this position are to share language and perspectives, open a dialogue about multilingualism, and bring communities together through poetry,” Mayers said.
Mayers said Kouri-Vini, Louisiana’s endangered Creole language, is central to his work in art and literature. His work can be found in “Ti Liv Kréyòl”, “Folklore Figures of French and Creole Louisiana”, “Feux Follets” and “Le Bourdon de la Louisiane”, among others.
“Jonathan’s work inspires others to protect and preserve the historic Creole culture in Louisiana; the combination of Kouri-Vini and his talents will help keep this language alive for future generations, ”said Broome. “This unique asset will strengthen the cultural fabric of our community. I can’t wait to see how this will shape his tenure as a Poet Laureate.
Broome launched the Baton Rouge Poet Laureate program in partnership with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge in 2019 to celebrate the city’s rich culture and diversity.