SMU Simmons Professor named Poet Laureate for City of Dallas

SMU and the Simmons School of Education and Human Development are celebrating the announcement of Mag Gabbert, Ph.D. as the new Poet Laureate for the City of Dallas. Mayor Eric Johnson announced the news at an April 10th morning press conference at City Hall.  Simmons Dean Stephanie Knight and City Councilwoman Gay Donnell Willis were on hand for the ceremony.

Mag Gabbert, Ph.D. as the new Poet Laureate for the City of DallasThe Dallas native and graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, says her new role is the thrill of a lifetime. “This city has always been very important to me, so it is no exaggeration to say that becoming only the second Dallas Poet Laureate in the city’s history is the greatest honor of my life up to this point.  I’m feeling immensely grateful and humbled.”

In her official role as poet laureate Gabbert will undertake various initiatives in partnership with the Dallas public library and the city’s Office of Arts and Culture. She hopes to inspire and unite the people of Dallas. “I hope that, by taking on this role, I’ll be able to bring people from all across this vast community together; I hope to forge new connections; and I hope to inspire our residents to further enrich their own lives through art. Not everyone realizes that they, too, can gain access to and devote time to art—but art should be available for everyone, and now I have the opportunity to help make it so.”

Gabbert is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Human-Centered Interdisciplinary Studies in the Simmons School teaching doctoral and master’s courses such as Transformational Narratives;  The Art of Creativity and Expression; and Translations and Interpretations Across Art Forms.

“SMU is proud to have Dr. Gabbert on our faculty and delighted that she will be able to share her considerable talents with the City of Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “In an age where social media tends to drive us to instant reactions, poetry gives us a reason to slow down and think. It’s a great gift that she shares with us.”

Dr. Stephanie Knight, Dean of SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development, says the entire university, especially Simmons, is extremely proud and pleased about the announcement. “We are thrilled that Dr. Mag Gabbert has been named the Poet Laureate for the City of Dallas. With her many literary awards and published works in national and international reviews, we are not surprised she would achieve this impressive honor. Knight went on to say, “Dr. Gabbert’s students know her as an outstanding professor and now they have further confirmation they are being taught by the best  ̶  a poet laureate.”

Gabbert’s impressive list of accomplishments include the Pushcart Prize (2023), 92NY Discovery Award (2021),  and the Charles B. Wheeler Prize in Poetry (2021) from The Ohio State University and its literary magazine, The Journal, for her debut collection SEX DEPRESSION ANIMALS. The book was published by Mad Creek Books—trade imprint of The Ohio State University Press—in 2023​.

Learn more about Gabbert at

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