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Dolores Kendrick, Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia (1927 - 2017)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

(Washington) - The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) extends its condolences to the family and friends of Dolores Kendrick, Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia. Ms. Kendrick died Tuesday evening, November 7, 2017 at her home in Southwest DC. She was 90 years old.

A native Washingtonian, Ms. Kendrick was a writer, scholar and educator. Mayor Anthony Williams appointed her as the District's second Poet Laureate in 1999. Throughout her tenure, Ms. Kendrick worked closely with CAH to present a variety of programs to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of poetry and the literary arts.

"Dolores Kendrick was a well-renowned and deeply revered figure in American Literature," said Arthur Espinoza, Jr., Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. "Her years of writing and teaching have enriched the lives of many, in the District and beyond.  She leaves behind a legacy of artistry to be enjoyed by generations to come."

Ms. Kendrick first taught in the DC Public School system, where she helped found the School Without Walls. She was the first Vira I. Heinz Professor Emerita at Phillips Exeter Academy, where she taught for two decades. In 2002 she was awarded a special Fulbright Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Education and Literature.

Her book, The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women won the Anisfield-Wolfe Book Award for fiction in 1990; a theatrical adaptation won the New York New Playwrights Award in 1997. A recent stage adaptation was presented in collaboration with CAH in two parts at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in 2016 and 2017.

Ms. Kendrick earned a teaching certificate from Miner Teacher's College and an MA from Georgetown University. She recently completed a new book of poetry, Rainbow on Fire, which will be published by Black Classic Press.