Charlotte’s first-ever poet laureate unveils latest work, poetry in the Queen City

CHARLOTTE — The Queen City has its first-ever poet laureate.

Over the last several months, Junious Ward has kept himself busy, including releasing a new poetry book called ‘Composition’ and most notably taking the position as Charlotte’s inaugural poet laureate.

Channel 9′s Elsa Gillis spoke with Ward about themes in his recent poetry book, his plans to increase awareness and interest in the art of poetry and paving the way for Charlotte’s future as a poet laureate.

“The most exciting thing about that is that it means there’s another poet laureate after me and another poet laureate after me,” said Ward. “It sets up opportunity, and it sets up poetry to make more of a difference and impact people’s lives”.

Ward told Gillis he sees this role as an ambassador for poetry. He currently hosts public workshops and does in-school visits at schools.

“What’s even more exciting is when they don’t consider themselves to be writers,” Ward said. “But then you see that moment where they begin to flourish because now they understand, like, creatively, what they can do.”

Ward himself didn’t get into the creative scene, let alone the poetry scene until he was an adult and began embracing his creative ability. He was also part of the creation of a writing and music program at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center.

Ward will hold the position of poet laureate until 2024, and he says his work is far from over.

“I think art is a mirror; art holds up what is existing, but it also holds up what could exist. It also holds up what shouldn’t exist; poetry, in particular, has always been on the leading edge of revolution, the leading edge of societal change,” Ward said. The change that we want to see oftentimes starts with somebody who can express the idea”.

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