Poet Laureate

In 2016, the Norwalk Public Library and Norwalk Arts Commission partnered to establish a Norwalk Poet Laureate post. Norwalk is one of about a dozen of towns and cities in Connecticut that to have a Poet Laureate. The mission of Norwalk’s Poet Laureate is to communicate the value of poetry to our community. Our Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador of the community’s vibrant artistic and literary life, promoting the literary community and celebrating the written word.

Bill Hayden  Norwalk's Poet Laureate, William P. Hayden

Current - William (Bill) P. Hayden
Congratulations to Bill Hayden, Norwalk’s second Poet Laureate!
For more on Bill and his upcoming programming, please visit:

Laurel Peterson 2017-2018 Norwalk’s First Poet Laureate, Laurel S. Peterson 

Laurel S. Peterson is a Professor of English at Norwalk Community College, who acted as She Norwalk’s poet laureate from April 2016 – April 2019. In her role as laureate, she brought Raining Poetry to Norwalk sidewalks; wrote poetry to commemorate the installation of the Gateway to Norwalk sculpture; led workshops on writing ekphrastic poetry and other poetic forms; created and moderated Poets in Conversation at the Norwalk Public Library, which included poets such as William Lantry, Ralph Nazareth, Marianela Medrano, Joseph Fasano, David K. Leff, Alan Walowitz, Charles Rafferty, Jonas Zdanys, Amy Nawrocki, Brian Clements, Joseph Fasano, Kevin Pilkington, Van Hartmann, Jerry Johnson and Shanna Melton; created a monthly spring open mic series on First Fridays; worked with local musicians, artists and dancers to create interdisciplinary works that mixed poetry with other art forms; in concert with the Norwalk Education Foundation and the NPL, interviewed national poet laureate Tracy K. Smith at Norwalk Community College; collaborated with artist Maya Santangelo and NPL Director Chris Bradley on the design for a traffic graphic box in front of the library that featured her poem “Sanctuary”; partnered with Factory Underground and Woodhall Press to create Oysterville: Poetry, a chapbook and an album of ten Norwalk poets; worked with Norwalk Arts Commission, and designer Judith Bacal, on a sign for Oyster Shell Park on Poetry in the Parks. 

Her poetry has been published in many small literary journals. She has two poetry chapbooks: That’s the Way the Music Sounds, from Finishing Line Press (2009) and Talking to the Mirror from The Last Automat Press (2010). She also co-edited a collection of essays on women’s justice titled (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience (2009). Her mystery novel, Shadow Notes, was released by Barking Rain Press in May 2016. A full length collection of poetry, Do You Expect Your Art to Answer You? was released by Futurecycle Press in 2017.