As the city’s next poet laureate, Angela Trudell Vasquez brings a history of advocacy for poetry to Madison.
Trudell Vasquez, who goes by Angie, is the city’s seventh poet laureate and the first Latina woman to hold the position. She said she sees power in poetry as an art form and has worked with young people to help them find their voice.
“When I think of advocacy, I think it’s starting with the individual and having it emanate from there,” Trudell Vasquez said.
Trudell Vasquez has been publishing poems for over 30 years and has written three collections of poetry. The latest, In Light, Always Light, was published in May 2019.
She nominated herself for the Madison poet laureate position which comes with a term of two years. The City Council confirmed Trudell Vasquez’s nomination Tuesday.
“This is my passion and this is the right time for me to apply,” Trudell Vasquez said. “I do believe in my work and my ability to connect with people and to make poetry accessible and exciting and vibrant and part of the fabric of our lives in Madison.”
Trudell Vasquez moved from Seattle to Wisconsin in 2005, living in Milwaukee until moving to Madison with her partner in 2015. She has read poems at Fighting Bob Fest, Arts & Literature Laboratory (ALL), Mother Fools Coffeehouse and the downtown Madison Public Library, among other local venues.
Last summer, the poet worked with ALL and the UW-Madison physics department to collaborate with high school students in making an interactive exhibit. Trudell Vasquez said she can teach poetry to anyone from age 4 to 80.
“Everyone can connect in some way or another to poetry,” Trudell Vasquez said.
In her work as Madison’s poet laureate, she plans to offer free poetry workshops, create zines and hold public poetry readings at public libraries. She also intends to mentor young poets in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Madison residents can hear Trudell Vasquez perform for the first time as poet laureate Feb. 6 at A Room of One’s Own bookstore, 315 W. Gorham St., at 6 p.m.