The Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Residential College for Arts and Humanities Center for Poetry at Michigan State University and the Lansing Poetry Club are proud to announce the appointment of Masaki Takahashi as the third regional Lansing Poet Laureate. As Poet Laureate, Masaki will engage the tri-county region in the literary arts. His work will include promoting poetry as an art form, expanding access to the literary arts, connecting the community to poetry and showcasing poetry as a literary voice that contributes to a greater sense of place to support the attraction of global talent and business.
"The Lansing region has a vibrant, sophisticated and welcoming poetry community. The presence of a poet laureate sends a clear message that our region provides the rich cultural experiences that contribute to a full life and is an amenity that draws and keeps talent in the region," said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. "We are eager to see how Masaki uses his expertise to connect our region to the world through poetry. Congratulations and thank you to our great partners at RCAH Center for Poetry and the Lansing Poetry Club for bringing this vital placemaking initiative to the community."
This new appointment of the Lansing Poet Laureate will continue to stimulate the transformative impact of poetry, creating excitement about the written and spoken word. The Lansing Poet Laureate will serve as an ambassador for poetry within the region for a 2-year appointment and will receive a $2,000 per year stipend from LEAP.
Masaki grew up in the Lansing area and is an alumnus of Okemos Public Schools, Michigan State University, Lansing Community College and Davenport University. He is most well known for being the founder and host of The Poetry Room Open Mic, established in 2017 at The Robin Theatre.
"I hope to make poetry more accessible and share my excitement about poetry with this community. I love workshopping with high school and college students, which reminds me of when I started. I want to inspire more people to write and commit themselves to the world of slam poetry and I will bring some new fire to this position to do so."
With this appointment, the Lansing Poet Laureate will offer instructional workshops andreadings with the public, working to engage all three counties within the Lansing Region.
"Masaki Takahashi and The Poetry Room have generated enormous excitement and interest in poetry in the Greater Lansing Area. The Poetry Room attracts a rich mix of multicultural performers and audience members, a mix of emerging poets and those more experienced, of young and old — all are welcome. That cultural mix generates enormous creativity. It's a great learning environment," said Ruelaine Stokes, president of the Lansing Poetry Club.
The community is invited to celebrate the "Passing of the Laurel" from the second Lansing Poet Laureate, Laura Apol, to Masaki Takahashi, who will now follow in her footsteps. The event, which will include a reading by both poets, will take place Thursday, April 21 2022, at 8 p.m. at the MSU Erickson Kiva located at 620 Farm Lane in East Lansing and will feature a meet and greet with the poet laureates and the project partners.
"In her role as Lansing Poet Laureate during the pandemic, Laura Apol met unforeseen challenges with creativity and grace, keeping poetry accessible when we most needed it. As we emerge from the isolation of the last two years, Masaki Takahashi has the vision and experience to build on the work of Lansing's last two poets laureate and extend that work in exciting new directions to meet the needs of our historic moment and nurture the next generation of poets and poetry enthusiasts in the tri-county area," said Lauren Russell, director, RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU.
Visit the Lansing Poet Laureate website for information about the Lansing Poet Laureate and future events.