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FairfaxNew county poet laureate aims to be visible presence

New county poet laureate aims to be visible presence

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Fairfax County’s new poet laureate is looking forward to her role as a roving ambassador for words and the meaning behind them.

“Language, for me, is a salve. The more you use it, the more power you have to heal your wounds and the wounds of others,” said Danielle Badra, who has been tapped for a two-year stint as poet laureate. “My experiences in life and in the literary world directly inspire my vision for the next two years – through poetry workshops, readings, and activities in the parks, I want to illuminate how language and our natural environment can be a source of comfort and creativity.”

Badra holds a bachelor of arts degree in creative writing from Kalamazoo College and a master of fine arts degree in poetry from George Mason University, where she was the poetry editor of So To Speak, described as a feminist literary and arts journal, and an intern for Split This Rock. Her manuscript “Like We Still Speak” was selected by Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara as the winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize and published through the University of Arkansas Press.

Established since 2020, the Fairfax poet laureate (a post held for the past two years by Nicole Tong) serves as a literary arts ambassador, promoting poetry as an art form in the county, region and state. The incumbent promotes writing and reading of poetry and all types of literature through a community-service project designed for county residents.

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“The Fairfax poet laureate is a remarkable example of how support to a single artist can impact the whole county,” said Linda Sullivan, president and CEO of ArtsFairfax. “Danielle’s vision to bring poetry to the parks is inspired, and we’re as excited to learn from her as we are thrilled to share her work with the community.”

In addition to teaching undergraduate composition, literature and poetry at George Mason, Badra has led writing workshops at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Split This Rock Poetry Festival, OutWrite DC and in high schools.

For information on her work, see the Website at DanielleBadra.com.

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