Marcus Amaker

Marcus Amaker was named Charleston, SC’s first Poet Laureate in 2016. In 2021, he became an Academy of American Poets fellow. He’s also the award-winning graphic designer of a national music journal (No Depression), an electronic musician, an opera librettist, the creator of a poetry festival, and a mentor.

Photo: Marcus Amaker,

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    His poetry has been recognized by The Washington Post, The Kennedy Center, American Poets Magazine, The Washington National Opera, The Portland Opera, Button Poetry, NPR, The Chicago Tribune, Edutopia, Departures Magazine, People’s World, PBS Newshour, SC Public Radio, Charleston Magazine, Charleston City Paper, North Dakota Quarterly, Post and Courier, Charleston Scene and several other publications.

    In 2019, he won a Governor’s Arts award in South Carolina, and was named the artist-in-residence of the Gaillard Center, a world-renowned performance and education venue.

    His poetry has been studied in classrooms around the country, and has been interpreted for ballet, jazz, modern dance, opera and theater. One of his poems is on a Grammy-nominated album, and Marcus has recorded three albums with Grammy Award winning drummer and producer Quentin E. Baxter.

    His ninth book is Black Music Is, from Free Verse Press.

    -Joshua Thomas

    This profile was created in 2022 as part of The Savvy Singer, an EXCEL Lab course at the
    University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and a collaboration with the
    Hampsong Foundation via the Classic Song Research Initiative.

    Bibliography: Amaker, Marcus. Biography. Accessed Dec. 9, 2022.


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