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Latino writer Oscar Mireles named Madison's fifth poet laureate

Latino writer Oscar Mireles named Madison's fifth poet laureate

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The new poet laureate for Madison has a decidedly Latino flavor to his work.

Oscar Mireles will be the city’s fifth poet laureate, continuing a tradition started by Mayor Paul Soglin when he appointed the first poet laureate, John Tuschen, in 1977, during his first term in office.

A reception and poetry reading is planned on Jan. 31 at Centro Hispano, celebrating Mireles as the city’s first Latino poet laureate.

“I have known and respected Oscar Mireles for many years, and his talents are wide ranging,” Soglin said in announcing the appointment on Monday.

Dane County’s cultural affairs director Mark Fraire said Latino life is documented in Mireles’ work “I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin.”

“His writings offer a glimpse into the life of an American-born Latino, youth and family, education, history and current events,” Fraire said.

“Oscar is certainly well deserving of this award, because his poetry speaks to the heart of what drives our community: achieving equity, inclusion and justice, in an often chaotic world,” Fraire said.

Mireles will serve as Madison’s poet laureate from Jan. 18 to Jan. 15, 2018.

The first poet laureate, John Tuschen, served for over 20 years, being succeeded by Andrea Musher in 2001, then by Fabu Phillis Carter in 2007 and the current poets laureate, Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman, in 2012.

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