Fairfax Poet Laureate 2020-2022

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Fairfax Poet Laureate 2020-2022

Nicole Tong headshot

Nicole Tong

Being named the inaugural Fairfax Poet Laureate offers me an extraordinary opportunity to share poetry, which I love, write and teach, with my community”. “At the end of my tenure, I will have done my work if county residents understand that poetry and poets are alive in the here and now; they are not just documented in canonical books. I look forward to sharing my work and the voices of other living poets, which reflect the diverse lived experiences of all of us.”– Nicole Tong

The Fairfax County Poet Laureate award is both a high honor and an opportunity to develop a community outreach program to showcase poetry and the literary arts.

As the inaugural Fairfax County Poet Laureate, Nicole Tong created Poetry Lives Here to enliven local interest in contemporary poetry. She amplified living poets on Twitter @PoetryLivesHere, created digital content in celebration of National Poetry Month, and partnered with George Mason University MFA poetry students to conduct a residency at the County’s Juvenile Detention Center. Together, these initiatives have raised Fairfax community awareness of living American poets and how they reflect the diversity of voices and cultures in this nation.

Nicole Tong is an award-winning poet and professor of English at the Northern Virginia College and has been honored with fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and George Mason University where she received a Master of Fine Arts. In 2016, Tong served as an inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Pope Leighey House, a Frank Lloyd Wright Property. Her writing has appeared in American Book Review, CALY, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Cortland Review, Yalobusha Review, and others. The Washington Writers’ Publishing House selected Tong’s first collection of poems How to Prove a Theory for its 2017 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize winner.


Learn more about Poetry Lives Here

Explore Poetics: a word from Nicole Tong

Fairfax Poet Laureate Residency at the 

Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center 

(County Magazine, Channel 16, June 2022)