Athens Cultural Affairs Commission Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Jeff Fallis reads a poem he wrote for the Mayor & Commission - 4.18.2023

Dial A Poem at 762-400-POEM to hear poems by ACC Poet Laureate Jeff Fallis

Jeff Fallis, Poet Laureate. Photo by Jason ThrasherPhoto by Jason Thrasher

To enhance the profile of poets, poetry, and literary arts in the ACC community and beyond, the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC) announced the inaugural community Poet Laureate program.

Jeff Fallis is the first community Poet Laureate and will hold this position for two years.

The intention of the Poet Laureate is to bring poetry to segments of the community that have traditionally had less access or exposure to poetry such as senior citizens or at-risk youth.

During the two-year term, the Poet Laureate will make a number of appearances in different parts of the community, perform public readings, hold workshops, visit schools, attend literary and cultural events, and work to make poems, poetry, and literature generally more accessible.

Ultimately, the Poet Laureate program goal is to spike interest in poetry, teach writing poetry and use poetry as a means of self-expression in Athens-Clarke County. 


The Poet Laureate position is administered by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC). The Poet Laureate aims to further enhance the profile of poets, poetry, and literary arts in our community and beyond. The Poet Laureate is expected to bring poetry to segments of our community that have less access or exposure to poetry: senior citizens, youth, schools and more. The Poet Laureate will be a creative person with the demonstrated ability to enact their vision. The Poet Laureate will make several guest appearances during the term, promoting poetry throughout the community.

The Poet Laureate will serve for a two-year term and will be provided an honorarium of $2,000, funded in semi-annual installments*. A contract will be derived with expectations detailed as to the public benefit required of the position, which will be jointly determined with the final applicant and review committee. The expectation is that the position will foster appreciation and expand awareness of poetry in the county. The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission will support the Laureate in networking within the community but actual work must be accomplished by the chosen candidate.


  • Selection committee and chair established: November 2020
  • Call for Nominations; First and Second Year Member at Large selected: January 2021
  • Virtual Info Session (via Zoom): February 16, 2021*
  • Deadline for nominations to be received by ACAC: March 2, 2021
  • Athens Poet Laureate Committee meets to select finalists: March 2021
  • Finalist interviews: March 2021
  • Athens Poet Laureate recommendations submitted to the Mayor & Commission: April 1-5, 2021
  • Poet Laureate Announced during Poetry Month: April 6, 2021
  • Poet Laureate position begins duties: April, 2021

Sample Duties

  • Read poems at ceremonial or literary events that are free and open to the public (examples could include at the unveiling of a new building or bridge that will benefit the community; swearing-in for elected officials, etc.), at Mayor & Commission or other public meetings
  • Champion the art of poetry and the spoken word in the community in person and on social media
  • Encourage appreciation of the art form and creative expression by a wide-range of county residents, including youth
  • Celebrate the community’s cultural heritage
  • Attend literary and other cultural events in the county as appropriate
  • Give 5-10 public readings and workshops that are free and open to the public, including visits to schools and/or events for young people
  • Provide updates as requested


Tatiana Veneruso

Public Art Coordinator, Leisure Services Department