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Get to know Kansas City, Missouri's first poet laureate, Melissa Ferrer Civil

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A woman wearing a hat and clasping a book smiles.
Alec Vanderboom
Local poet and organizer Melissa Ferrer Civil was named Kansas City’s first poet laureate last week by Mayor Quinton Lucas.

During her year-long appointment by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Civil will work with local organizations to foster interest in poetry. “I want to plan programming that will help people find themselves,” she told KCUR’s Up To Date.

Kansas City named local poet and organizer Melissa Ferrer Civil the city's first poet laureate last week.

The poet laureate “encourages the teaching, reading, and writing of poetry as an avenue for education, culture, and entertainment in Kansas City,” according to the city’s website.

Civil told KCUR’s Up To Date that she will collaborate with local organizations over the next year to get the word out that poetry can be a powerful tool for change.

“It is my perspective that poetry is not just meant to stay on the page,” Civil says. “I want to plan programming that will help people find themselves…to help bolster community solidarity.”

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Claudia Brancart is an Up To Date producer for KCUR 89.3. She graduated from Pitzer College in Los Angeles where she majored in World Literature and Studio Art. You can reach her at claudiab@kcur.org.
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