The City of Lafayette poet laureate was appointed on Tuesday, April 19, to ZBassSpeaks, also known as Z, by Mayor Mangat and City Council. Z is a multilingual, twin-spirited Indigenous writer and performer.
As the City’s Poet Laureate, Z will serve for two years in this honorary position producing, sharing, and promoting poetry. The Lafayette Poet Laureate Program is funded by the Arts & Cultural Resources Department and this position is selected for appointment by the Cultural Arts Commissions. Z receives a stipend of $2,500 per term as the City’s poet laureate.
The selection committee was electrified by Z’s commanding presence, powerful use of language that speaks with urgency to issues of our time, and the passion they exude for the Lafayette community - its people, its history, and its future through the art of storytelling. Z also has strong ties to the community, and particularly Lafayette’s youth, through their work with the Empowerment Center of East County, Lafayette Public Library, Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee, and Sister Carmen Community Center, Z will connect a wholly inclusive Lafayette audience.
Z will present contemporary means of writing, performing, and disseminating poetry through readings, hosted events, educational workshops, multimedia projects, and inclusion-oriented outreach initiatives, all honoring the artistic excellence of our community. Watch Z’s appointment at the Council meeting and find more details about the program and Z at Lafayetteco.gov/PoetLaureate.
Read Z's poem written about designation as Lafayette’s Poet Laureate
Mi Tierra de Colorado
Upon the kisses that the sun greets me with.
Let the sounds of birds and the squeaks of groundhogs spring the morning.
Tattoo my streets with paint of every color.
Stain the air with the sweet perfume smell of peaches.
Fill my veins with the sound of music and joy even when the stars dot coming night.
Breathe in the crispy cold air.
Por yo soy.
For I am.
I am home of the Arapaho Nation and the tribe of Balam Na.
Soy tierra Chicano.
Con tierra de color rojo.
Y corazón lleno de Oro.
I am the rock mined coal creek.
Home to miners and travelers alike for you are welcome here.
The people who run the morning trail at Wankea.
The plaza place of gathering.
The resting place of a mysterious vampire.
I am the honoring spirit with names like John Breaux, Rose Lueras, and many more.
As the full moon sets upon this valley.
May the lights match the stars for I am still awake.
My dreams, filled with ice cream and pizza.
Hear the Coyotes howl at night.
Let the owl sing a lullaby.
Sing you good night.
I welcome you, to my home Lafayette.