“To put a light on the literary arts in this way is just so encouraging to everyone,” she said. “I’m quite humbled, because I know so many good writers. I’m just kind of ‘Why me?’ It’s really an honor.”
“I thought, ‘OK, I’m doing this,’” Lilley said. “I’m going to write as well as teach.”
Her new title as poet laureate not only gives her another creative outlet but also allows her to give back to her hometown, Lilley said.
English teacher Susan Lilley recently was named the city of Orlando’s poet laureate. As such, she will be in charge of promoting poetry and an appreciation for poetry among residents.
But somewhere in her 20s, Lilley began writing poetry on her own and eventually started sharing and publishing her work. She got a master’s degree of fine arts from the University of Southern Maine as well, and later received the Rita Dove Poetry Award for her writing.
After officially being given the title at an Orlando City Council meeting Oct. 23, she now is working with the city to formulate her exact role and next steps. As the city’s official storyteller, Lilley will present original works of poetry at city events and youth activities, all to inspire emerging generations of literary artists and readers.
Lilley has been an English teacher at Trinity Prep for 20 years. Before that, she served for 12 years in the English department at the University of Central Florida. She currently teaches AP literature and composition to seniors about to head to college.