GRAND RAPIDS (November 6, 2020) Ericka “Kyd Kane” Thompson has been named the Poet
Laureate of the greater Grand Rapids area for a three-year term starting in January 2021. She will take
over the position currently held by Marcel “Fable the Poet” Price, who has been Poet Laureate since
The Poet Laureate is an ambassador for poetry, creating programs and projects to foster the
writing and reading of poetry by the public. Selected by the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate Selection
Committee, past Poet Laureates include L.S. Klatt, Linda Nemec Foster, Patricia Clark, Rodney
Torreson, and David Cope.
Thompson is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary poet and visual artist who grew up on the
Southeast side of Grand Rapids. Kyd uses self expression to generate social dialogue about the human
experience. Her work explores themes such as poverty, privilege, gentrification, resilience, and identity
through community conversation, poetry, installation pieces, video, and photography.
Thompson’s work has taken her to numerous performance venues including the Detroit Masonic
Temple, the Michigan State Capitol building, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Unity Center of Peace in
Chapel Hill, NC, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and SiTE:LAB, among others. Her voice has
been featured on NPR, WYCE Electric Poetry, TEDx, and on the intros, interludes and outros of various
musical artists from all over the country.
She serves as the co-host of Creston Vibes:, a themed open mic series, is active with the
“Challenge Privilege” movement, and is a teaching artist with an arts and culture nonprofit organization,
The Diatribe, Inc.
Thompson remarked, “Years ago, when I first learned that this city appointed a Poet Laureate
every three years, I couldn’t have imagined that one day, it would be me. Growing up on the Southeast
side of GR, arts and culture wasn’t something I got to experience much and when I did, I never saw
many people that were a reflection of me or my experiences. When there’s a lack of representation, it
tends to cloud the vision of what we view as possible or attainable. I am the first Black Woman and also
the first openly queer person to hold this position. I set the intention for my role as laureate to open up
new windows of possibility and allow people to imagine themselves in positions that they may have never
seen themselves in historically. I’m excited for all the ways I’ll use the art of poetry to build community,
and I look forward to changing the way poetry is experienced in our city for years to come.”
The new Poet Laureate will begin her three-year term in January 2021. The Grand Rapids Poet
Laureate is a program of the Grand Rapids Public Library and is funded through a grant from the Grand
Rapids Public Library Foundation, Dyer-Ives Foundation Poetry Fund.
The Grand Rapids Public Library inspires opportunity, connection, and innovation.