DALLAS — The City of Dallas announced a new city poet laureate and youth poet laureate.

The city announced Dr. Mag Gabbert as the its second poet laureate and Naisha Randhar as the youth poet laureate. Gabbert follows in the footsteps of the inaugural poet laureate, Joaquín Zihuatanejo.

For the next two years, Gabbert will represent Dallas as an ambassador of the literary arts and perform her original poems at schools and community events. She will develop outreach initiatives to engage and inspire the Dallas community to appreciate the written and spoken word. Gabbert will hold regular office hours at the Central Library.  

Gabbert is a clinical assistant professor at Southern Methodist University and has an master of fine arts degree from the University of California Riverside and a Ph.D. in English from Texas Tech. She is a Dallas native and graduate of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Gabbert is the author of a full-length book of poetry, “SEX DEPRESSION ANIMALS,” published last year and winner of the 2021 Charles B. Wheeler Prize in Poetry.

She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Discovery Award from the Unterberg Poetry Center and fellowships from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Idyllwild Arts and Poetry at Round Top. Her work has been published in The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review Daily and more than 50 other magazines and journals.  

Randhar will serve a one-year term as youth poet laureate and work with the Gabbert on youth poetry initiatives. Randhar is a ninth grade student at The Hockaday School. She takes part in debate and Model U.N., runs track, and she volunteers as a tutor at Joe May Elementary. Randhar wrote and self-published a fantasy novel when she was 12. 

The poet laureate program is funded by the Friends of Dallas Public Library, Inc, the Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation, Office of Arts & Culture and Deep Vellum.