Mayor Paul Soglin has announced that Oscar Mireles has agreed to serve a second term as Poet Laureate for the City of Madison. Mireles is the first Latino to hold this prestigious position.
“Oscar Mireles has been an outstanding Madison Poet Laureate, not only because he brings poetry in two languages, but because he is welcoming to all,” said former Poet Laureate, Fabu, in a statement. “The entire city of Madison is grateful for the outstanding contributions of Oscar Mireles not only in community service, but in poetry as well. He is also one fine dancer.”
Mireles, the executive director/principal of the Omega School for adults seeking to complete their GED/HSED, said he has enjoyed all the literary initiatives associated with being Poet Laureate for the last two years including the Madison Metro Bus Lines Poetry, inviting writers to read before the Madison City Council meetings on a quarterly basis, and doing poetry readings at schools like Wingra, Nuestro Mundo, and Lincoln elementary schools. He participated in many community events including the Wisconsin Book Festival and organized the Share the Word event which brought over 100 writers and artists together as part of the Library Takeover.
A highlight of his last term as Poet Laureate was writing a poem as part of the 10th Anniversary Dinner for the Madison Sister City project with Obihiro, Japan which was also translated into Japanese. Mireles was featured on the Wisconsin Life series on Wisconsin Public Television, and appeared on many radio shows including the Joy Cardin Show, Central Time, and Eight O Clock Buzz with Tony Casteneda.
“Oscar Mireles has been writing and making space for and promoting the multilingual voices of other Wisconsin writers for decades through his anthology series, I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin,” said Wendy Vardaman, another of Madison’s former Poets Laureate, in a statement. “A community leader and builder as well as a poet, he has been a tireless supporter of writers at all points of their careers, encouraging adults and young people to tell their stories and providing the means for them to do that with efforts such as the anthology series and his work on behalf of literacy.”
Madison’s first Poet Laureate, John Tuschen, was appointed in 1977 by Mayor Paul Soglin during his first stint in office. Tuschen remained Poet Laureate for over 20 years. Former Mayor Susan Bauman appointed his successor, Andrea Musher, in 2001. In 2007, Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz appointed Fabu Phillis Carter. In 2012, Mayor Soglin appointed Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman as Poets Laureate.
Mireles will hold the Poet Laureate position until January 19, 2020.