Dolores Kendrick, a Native Washingtonian, was appointed Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia on May 14, 1999. Kendrick is the second person honored with this title, following Sterling Brown, who was appointed in 1984. She is the author of the award-winning poetry book The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women, published in 1989.
Kendrick’s rich history of poetic contributions to local and national publications has earned her numerous awards and honors, including a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the George Kent Award for Literature, the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Award and an invitation from the Chinese government to lecture at the Shanghai School of Foreign Languages. She has received two Yaddo Fellowships and a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship. She was the first Vira I. Heinz Professor Emerita at Phillips Exeter Academy. Chicago State University has inducted Kendrick into the International Literary Hall of Fame for writers of African-American descent, an honor sponsored by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing.
Her new book Why the Woman is Singing on the Corner was selected by poet and critic Grace Cavalieri as one of the five best books of poetry of 2001. She was one of the selected poets invited to the National Book Festival, sponsored by Laura Bush, celebrated at the White House and the Library of Congress in September 2001. In July of 2002 she was given a special Fulbright Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Education and Literature. She has been selected to be honored by the National Visionary Leadership Project, which celebrates African-Americans who have made outstanding contributions to art and public life. On September 11, 2002 a celebration of her work appeared on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.
In May of 2004, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree upon giving the commencement address at St. Bonaventure University at Bonaventure, NY. Ms. Kendrick was also one of the original designers and teachers at the School Without Walls, a high school in Washington, DC.
Most recently, she was commissioned to write a poem that was placed on Epoch, a sculpture by Albert Paley in downtown Washington at the PEPCO building on 701 9th Street, NW. In 2004, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority commissioned Ms. Kendrick to write two poems for Journeys, a sculpture by Barbara Grygutis for the new York Avenue Metro station in DC.
Thank you to www.dcarts.dc.gov for help assembling this information.