Auburn names next honorary Poet Laureate

James Rodgers will serve in the role from 2021-2023.

James Rodgers’ poetry sparkles with humor, but he writes about kids, travel and music, too, and his work includes plenty of lyrics waiting to be set to song.

And, following the recommendation of the Auburn Arts Commission, the Auburn City Council on Dec. 7 officially named the Pacific Northwest native and 20-year resident of Pacific as Auburn’s honorary Poet Laureate for the years 2021 to 2023.

In its write up, the Arts Commission found Rodgers to be “a very talented and respected poet” with a longtime commitment to Auburn’s literary arts community, a passion for poetry, a positive personality and charisma that the commission found to be perfectly suited for his new role.

Former Poets Laureate of the City of Auburn are: the late Dick Brugger (2012-14); Marjorie Rommel (2015-17); and Susan Landgraf (2018-20).

Rodgers has three self-published chapbooks, and his work can be found in Prism Magazine, Ha!, Poets of the Kent Canterbury Faire, Fly By Night Press, WPA Members Anthology, Wrist, Raven Chronicles, Washington English Journal, and over 30 more. His first full book of poetry, “They Were Called Records, Kids,” was released by MoonPath Press in 2018. He was also the winner of the WPA Charles Proctor Award for Humor in 2005, and honorable mention on two other occasions.

Rodgers is a member of the Auburn Poetry Group Striped Water Poets, and has been a regular and featured reader at the Rainbow Readings held on the first Monday of each month at the Rainbow Café in Auburn. He was also featured at Auburn’s Poets on the Ave event at the Auburn Avenue Theater for April Poetry Month, curated by Marjorie Rommel.

The City of Auburn Poet Laureate recognizes and honors a poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment and encourages the public to appreciate poetry and literary life in Auburn. Nominees for the Poet Laureate position must live in South King County or North Pierce County and shall be actively engaged in Auburn’ s creative community for at least one year prior to their appointment.