Alison Pelegrin, the Poet Laureate of Louisiana, says she often finds inspiration for her poetry as she takes walks along the Tammany Trace. “I like to pay attention to my surroundings and just see what’s going on,” Pelegrin explains.
Promoting poetry as poet laureate
Pelegrin calls it an honor to be selected as Louisiana’s Poet Laureate in 2023, a term that lasts for two years. As part of her official duties, she will travel the state, “to raise the profile of poetry.” Pelegrin’s first reading will take place Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at The Helis Foundation John Scott Center in New Orleans. The program runs from 6-8pm and admission is free, but you should register here. Pelegrin wants to encourage people, “to see where you are and write about where you are”. That’s something that Pelegrin has done in her published books of poetry: “Our Lady of Bewilderment (2022), Waterlines (2016), Hurricane Party (2011), and Big Muddy River of Stars (2007). Check out Alison Pelegrin online here.
characters and challenges
Frequent walks through her neighborhood, through the woods and along the rivers near Abita Springs are inspirational for Pellegrin. She says that her observations help her develop her poems. “I’m walking through the world as a citizen, looking at other people, seeing things I like, seeing things I don’t like, and hearing people talk,” she explains. “All those things kind of brew together, maybe combined with something I have on my mind, to make a poem,” Pelegrin says.
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growing up on the westbank
Pelegrin has written a poem she calls, Even in Gretna, Hearing the Cashier Talk, I Long for Gretna. Her prose offers a glimpse into her life growing up and the character of her beloved community.
how to write a poem
I asked Pelegrin for a quick lesson in how to write a poem. She did it in just 45 seconds. Watch this video for a few tips on how to write your own poetry.