The city's Honorary Poet Laureate program recognizes the importance of literature as a vital part of our shared and diverse culture. Poetry itself expresses personal and public stories in an art form accessible to all, and provides an outlet for feelings, experiences and questions about the world.
The Poet Laureate program provides a recognized poet and writer with the opportunity to advocate and promote poetry and literature within the city.
Dominique Sample goes by her artistic name Assetou Xango. She was introduced to performance poetry at age 15 by several world renowned poets who visited her school and was “instantly obsessed.” Xango memorized their poems and began writing constantly, anxiously awaiting the day she was old enough that her mother allowed her to attend the various poetry venues.
A year later, Xango made her first competitive poetry team: a youth team called Minor Disturbance. They traveled to Los Angeles and competed internationally, achieving fourth place in the overall competition, and were featured on HBO. By the end of that season, she was 20 years old and had “aged out” of the youth program, so she joined their staff and taught poetry workshops to youth in summer camp programs to halfway houses, where she continues this work today with Minor Disturbance, Youth on Record, and Creative Strategies for Change, a local nonprofit organization that teaches a variety of art courses in K-12 schools. Here, she is its school program coordinator in charge of art classes in the Metro Area.
As a community leader, she continues her poetry work, forming and hosting three poetry venues throughout the nation, as well as community gatherings and forums. At the beginning of 2016, she was published in the Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s Annual "Glyph" poetry book. She was also a performer in a recent TED Mile High Women event held in the Buell Theatre for a sold-out crowd of 2,700 people.
Assetou Xango reports she is excited and eager to find a new way to spread the passion and joy of poetry, helping people realize they have 'a voice' and to find it. “I have seen poetry enhance so many lives and change so many minds. I have spent my life in Aurora and have a tremendous sense of pride. It would be a true honor to continue to serve this growing community as a Poet Laureate.”
Her tenure as Aurora’s Poet Laureate runs from February 2017 through January 2019. If interested in booking her for an Aurora event, click here to contact us.