Karen Head (Photo by Colin Potts)

Poet, professor, and occasional INtown contributor Karen Head has been named the inaugural Poet Laureate of Fulton County.

Created by the Fulton County Arts and Culture (FCAC) and confirmed by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Head will serve a two-year term, renewable after the first year following an assessment conducted by the Department of Arts and Culture. Head was selected following a competitive juried process and laying out a plan for promoting and enriching Fulton County’s literary community and poetry among citizens.

“The establishment of the poet laureate for Fulton County assists in our efforts to reach diverse communities using poetry as a vehicle for literary competency and understanding,” says Lionell Thomas, FCAC Director, “The role of the Poet Laureate is to enrich Fulton County’s artistic community and foster an appreciation of poetry in all forms celebrating expressions of culture through the literary arts.”

“The enormous responsibility of originating this program and representing the nearly 1.1 million people in Fulton County is not lost on me. I am humbled and honored to have been selected,” says Head, “I’m excited about the good I know we can work together to affect. I am committed to all the people in our County, and I am passionate about the role of the arts, not only to help prepare people to have more successful and meaningful lives, but also to improve the communities in which we live.”

Head received a PhD from the University of Nebraska, and serves as Executive Director of the Communication Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as Associate Chair and Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. Since 2006, she has been a visiting scholar and artist at Technische Universität-Dortmund, Germany.

She has published five books of poetry: “Lost on Purpose,” “Sassing,” “My Paris Year,” “Shadow Boxes,” and “On Occasion: Four Poets, One Year.” She also co-edited the forthcoming “Mother Mary Comes to Me: A Pop Culture Poetry Anthology”  and “Teaching as a Human Experience: An Anthology of Poetry,” and has exhibited several acclaimed digital poetry projects, including “Monumental” which was detailed in a TIME online mini-documentary. Her poetry appears in a number of national and international journals and anthologies and in 2010 she won the Oxford International Women’s Festival Poetry Prize. Head has held residencies at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts-France. She is also the author of “Disrupt This!: MOOCs and the Promises of Technology,” a book about technology and higher education.

Head is editor of the international poetry journal Atlanta Review and also serves as the Poet Laureate of Waffle House—a title that reflects an outreach program to bring arts awareness to rural high schools in Georgia.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.