Chapel Hill Poet Laureate

About The Program

In November of 2019, the Town of Chapel Hill appointed artist, educator, and activist CJ Suitt as the first Poet Laureate of the community. The Poet Laureate program aims to deepen the relationship of the arts and foster connections by being an ambassador for the community. The Poet Laureate engages in activities that enhance the presence of the arts in the social and civic life.  A primary duty of this position is to provide space and opportunity for the sharing and performance of poetry. This position is a two-year term.

About CJ Suitt

CJ Suitt (he/him/they/them) is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer from Chapel Hill, N.C., whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice.

CJ co-directed, produced, and starred in a historical reenactment of the 1947 Freedom Rides, performed at many national and local music festivals, including Gnarnia, Shakori Hills and Bonnaroo, and acted in a production of Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments.

His career as an educator has allowed him to work with young people awaiting trial at the Durham Youth Home, older inmates whose voices have been silenced within the Orange County Correctional Facility, and high school and college-aged men pushing to redefine masculinity in their schools and communities. Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as Transplanting Traditions, Benevolence Farm, and Growing Change on the intersection of storytelling and food justice.

CJ most recently was appointed as the first Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill. He is committed to speaking truth to power and aims to be a bridge for communities who can’t always see themselves in each other.

The Re/Collecting Chapel Hill podcast features CJ on a new occasional series episode, Voices.

Get to know Chapel Hill's Poet Laureate

In The Aftermath

We commissioned CJ to create a poem that's prompted by the times we're in. 'In The Aftermath' is the result and it gives us all the feels.

Get In Touch

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Chapel Hill Laureate Poet Information