Fable is Grand Rapids' first Poet Laureate of color

Apr 11, 2017

Fable The Poet, Grand Rapids Poet Laureate, is first person of color, youngest laureate ever, and first without a four-year degree.
Credit Shafer Photography / Shafer Photography

The new Grand Rapids Poet Laureate is the first person of color, first person under forty years of age, and the first laureate without a four-year degree.

The Grand Rapids Public Library made its announcement Tuesday morning naming Marcel Price, or Fable, the city’s poet laureate, not just because he’s published a book of poems or won awards, but because of his vision for bringing poetry to everyone in Grand Rapids.  

“There’s poetry shows almost every single night of the week in our city and people don’t know that.”

Initially though, Fable, whose given name is Marcel Price, looked at previous laureates and didn’t think he was even qualified to apply.  

“I saw this common theme of them being, Caucasian, academia, older individuals and I was just like—I’m like a sensitive individual so it’s like I didn’t even want to put it out there and not get it.”

Thankfully, he worked up the courage, applied and got it.  So, if you’re in Grand Rapids, here is the a taste of your new ambassador of words, Fable. This poem is based on a painting by Kehinde Wiley which is currently at the UICA.

“We play necromancer with the toe-tagged, erect tombs out of hashtags, use shirts as memorials. The irony between cotton and a free, Gucci Arrest in Peace T-shirt is a metaphor I haven’t yet mastered. But here we are in a museum on display—basking in the work it takes to bring us to life.”