In 1963, Virginia established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Henry Hart, who was appointed to a two-year term in 2018. Hart is the author of several books of poetry and criticism, including Background Radition (Salt, 2007).

In 2016, Katherine E. Young was named poet laureate of Arlington County, Virginia. Young will serve a two-year term.

upcoming events

datesort ascending
Apr 19 2019
Charlottesville Reading Series: Valencia Robin and Debra Nystrom
Join us for the next installment of the Charlottesville Reading Series, featuring Valencia Robin, who will be reading poetry, and Debra Nystrom, who will be reading prose. Refreshments will be provided. This event will be free and open to the public.
Valencia Robin is the winner of Persea Books’ 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry; her collection, Ridiculous Light, will be published in April 2019. A visual artist as well as poet, her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly, The St. Petersburg Review, Black Renaissance Noire, Foundry, Kweli, The Cortland Review, and elsewhere. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and the 2014 winner of the Hocking Hills Festival of Poetry Competition. She holds an MFA in Art & Design from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia.
Debra Nystrom teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.  Her books include A Quarter Turn, Torn Sky, Bad River Road, and most recently Night Sky Frequencies: New and Selected Poems. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Slate, The American Poetry Review, VQR, Harvard Review, Narrative, Conjunctions, and Yale Review, and have received awards from The Virginia Quarterly Review, Five Points, Shenandoah, The Virginia Commission for the Arts, and The Library of Virginia. She is currently at work on a memoir.
404 E Main St
22901 Charlottesville, Virginia
Apr 12 2019
National Poetry Month Open Mic

April is National Poetry Month!

Celebrate at Old Town Books with a poetry reading open mic. If you'd like to read a poem by your favorite poet or perform an original work please apply here: All pieces must be three minutes or under.

Tickets are $10 can be purchased here.

104 South Union Street
22314 Alexandria, Virginia
Mar 07 2019
Alexander Dickow Poetry Reading in French & English
Please join us for a reading in French and English with poet Alexander Dickow, who will read from his new book, Appetites. A signing will follow. This event is cosponsored by Alliance Française Charlottesville and will be free and open to the public.
In François Rabelais’s Quart Livre, the giant Pantagruel descends to an island ruled by Master Gaster: the gut, gaster. Pantagruel remarks that our appetites include not only our instincts, but also our virtues. Appetites follows that arc from devour to divine, from impulse to aspiration.
Between high and low lurks everything else: maps of the imaginary, antiquated wallpaper, galaxies, piles of dry leaves. As if speaking of food, or love, or God, were not already a way to speak of everything else; such subjects have something of the smokescreen.
Appetites reclaims language as errancy beyond usage and convention. Desire demands a disobedient language, broken open, prone to misfiring. Our passions are violent, but also misleading: at once slippery and self-evident. Like language, desire thrives in the confusion of plenitude and privation. Polarities like these—loud and soft, absent and present, too much and too little—lend order to Appetites.
Appetites is published in English, though the author has translated many of the poems into French as well.
Alexander Dickow was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1979, and grew up in Moscow, Idaho. He now teaches French culture, language, and literature as an associate professor at Virginia Tech. As a poet, Dickow has published works in French and English: Appetites (MadHat Press, 2018), Caramboles (Argol Editions, 2008), Trial Balloons (Corrupt Press, 2012), and Rhapsodie curieuse (Louise Bottu, 2017). As a scholar, Dickow focuses especially on literature of the Belle Epoque and World War I on the one hand, and on contemporary literature on the other; he has published many articles in French and English, along with two scholarly works: Le Poète innombrable: Blaise Cendrars, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob (Hermann, 2015), and Jacob et le cinéma(Nouvelles Editions Jean-Michel Place, 2017). Translations from French include works by Gustave Roud (Air of Solitude followed by Requiem, Seagull Books, forthcoming), Henri Droguet (Clatters, Rain Taxi/Ohm Press, 2015), and Sylvie Kandé (PEN/Heim Translation fund grant project, 2018). Dickow maintains a professional website at
404 E Main St
22902 Charlottesville, Virginia

recent & featured listings

Poetry in Virginia
Tim Seibles
Virginia poet laureate

Tim Seibles

Tim Seibles is the author of Fast Animal (Estruscan Press, 2012), a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award.


I’m older than my father when he turned
bright gold and left his body with its used-up liver
in the Faulkner Hospital, Jamaica Plain.  I don’t 
believe in the afterlife, don’t know where he is 
now his flesh has finished rotting from his long 
bones in the Jewish Cemetery—he could be the only 
convert under

America, Every explorer names his island Formosa, beautiful
For being first, he alone, Walker Percy tells us, has access to it
and can see it for what it is. And doesn’tevery child call
its imagined pony by its secret name? A word to summon a large

Just past dusk I passed Christiansburg,
cluster of lights sharpening
as the violet backdrop of the Blue Ridge
darkened. Not stars
but blue-black mountains rose
before me, rose like sleep
after hours of driving, hundreds of miles
blurred behind me. My eyelids
were so heavy but I could see
far ahead a summer