The Moscow Poet Laureate Program increases awareness of the role that poetry and literature play in the community and creates a record of Moscow’s distinctive character. Not only does the program support the work of excellent poets in the city, but it also invests the public spaces of the city with the beauty of language. Along with offering readings and workshops, the Poet Laureate writes poems for the City that are reflective of local landscapes, social situations, or important events.
The Moscow Poet Laureate Program began in 2015, inspired by the vision of the Moscow Arts Commission and University of Idaho English Professor Alexandra Teague. Since that time, two poets have offered their literary expertise to this City of Moscow program; Tiffany Midge served from 2015-2018, and Susan Hodgin is in the midst of her 2018-2021 term.
Moscow residents who are published poets are eligible to apply for the Poet Laureate position once every three years.
Susan Hodgin, a Louisiana native with education degrees from Southeastern Louisiana University, is a retired Idaho educator with 35-plus years of teaching experience. She enjoys the friendship of her husband and their two Newfoundlands, an uppity housecat, and a small urban flock of hens (most of the time). She spends her other hours feeding and watching songbirds, coaching Poetry Out Loud at Moscow High School, and singing with UI Jazz Choir 1. She became Moscow’s second Poet Laureate this past June and looks forward to serving the Moscow Arts Commission and community through June 2021.
Poetry began for her as a classroom exercise, the writing teacher writing. From there, she found herself reflecting about what she saw in the natural world, a refreshing contrast to her school desk and computer desk at home. Her poetry is often prompted by an observation, a curiosity, finding a voice to tell a story.