Talena Lachelle Queen becomes first African American Poet Laureate of Paterson, NJ


For the first time, since the city was founded by Alexander Hamilton 225 years ago, Paterson, NJ has named Talena Lachelle Queen as their first “African American Poet Laureate.”  A ceremony honoring Queen will take place on February 3 at the historic Paterson Public Library. 

Queen (’14) is a poet and graduate of UW Bothell’s inaugural MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics program, where she authored Fourteen for her thesis project. She is a Paterson, NJ native whose poetry has an international audience. Queen is the founder of Her Best Self, a program of the National Black United Fund,  which fosters leadership qualities in young women. She is a certified and licensed elementary school teacher specializing in Middle Level Humanities in both New Jersey and Washington state (UW Bothell School of Educational Studies). Among her alma mater are Rosa Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts High School where she earned her diploma in Creative Writing, Montclair State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting, University of Washington where earned both her teaching certification and MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics, and University of Notre Dame where she earned an Executive Certification in Transformational Nonprofit Management at the Mendoza Business School.

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