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Department of Arts & Culture Announces Andrea “Vocab”Sanderson as 2020-2022 San Antonio Poet Laureate

Posted 1 years 38 days ago ago by Stacey Norton (Arts)

City of San Antonio Announces Andrea “Vocab”Sanderson as 2020-2022 San Antonio Poet Laureate
Spoken Word Poet, Musician Becomes San Antonio’s First African American Poet Laureate


SAN ANTONIO (March 11, 2020) – San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the Department of Arts & Culture announce Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson as San Antonio’s new Poet Laureate. Sanderson will serve as the City’s fifth Poet Laureate for a two-year term from 2020-2022. Mayor Nirenberg and the Department of Arts & Culture will host a public investiture ceremony at City Council Chambers on a date yet to be determined (due to COVID-19) to officially appoint Sanderson to the position. The event will kick off a number of events taking place throughout the city in April in celebration of National Poetry Month.


In 2012, San Antonio became the first major city in Texas to recognize and appoint a Poet Laureate. Texas has appointed a state Poet Laureate since 1932. Sanderson becomes San Antonio’s first African American Poet Laureate and joins previous San Antonio Poets Laureate Carmen Tafolla (2012-2014), Laurie Ann Guerrero (2014-2016), Jenny Browne (2016-2018), and Octavio Quintanilla (2018-2020) in a role intended to promote and preserve the art of poetry, while celebrating the culture and history of San Antonio. Three of the previous San Antonio Poets Laureate have also become State Poets Laureate for Texas.


“Andrea’s work in the community is exemplary of the role of a Poet Laureate. She has changed our community for the better with her words, her commitment and her authenticity,” Mayor Nirenberg said. “We are fortunate to have a dedicated individual like her embedded in our community, working with our youth and inspiring others with words.”


Sanderson’s work is versatile. Her poetry ricochets on the stage, it performs on paper, and it’s captured with music. Her spoken word performances, celebrated for their imagery, diction and musicality, have been exhibited and performed in numerous festivals and independently curated shows throughout San Antonio.


Sanderson’s inspirational and purposeful work at the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center has helped youth detangle feelings and pour them into words for the last 16 years. Her guidance through the complexity of the human experience allows youth to navigate a journey of self-discovery and personal understanding of the world.


Speaking on Sanderson’s transformative work with youth and through poetry slams, poet Jim Lavilla-Havelin said, “We’re talking about saving lives, changing direction, rescuing youth, one poet, one poem, one slam at a time.”


Sanderson released her first full-length album in November of 2019 and has received the 2019 Artist Foundation of San Antonio People’s Choice Award, among other previous awards with Project Forward, Dream Voice, and National Poetry Awards.


Literary magazines and anthologies published her written work, including The Texas Observer, The Raven Review Literary Magazine, and Pariahs (Anthology) from Stephen F. Austin University Press. She serves as the co-founder and board member of Write Art Out, and the founder and host of Jazz & Poetry with Purpose.


"It is truly fulfilling a dream of mine to step into this honorable role and serve my city,” said Sanderson. “I admire and love all of the Poets Laureate that came before me and consider it a blessing to rise to the occasion and create initiatives that promote artistic expression celebrating the literary arts. I love San Antonio’s poetry community and look forward to contributing to its growth.”


Since 2012, the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture has supported innovative programs and public events in San Antonio and in conjunction with the city’s Poet Laureate including festivals, workshops, readings and more.


In April, the City of San Antonio joins communities across the country in celebrating National Poetry Month. More information on the San Antonio Poet Laureate program and National Poetry Month, visit




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Sunday, April 18, 2021