Jaki Shelton Green will succeed Shelby Stephenson as North Carolina’s ninth poet laureate July 1, according to a News & Observer report.

Green—currently an instructor of documentary poetry at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies—is the first African American and third woman to be appointed to the position. 

Born and raised in North Carolina, Green grew up in Orange County before earning her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and her master’s in community economic development. 

As a prominent active arts educator and social justice advocate, she has taught and performed poetry across the globe—including the Caribbean, Europe and South America—and her work has been choreographed by multiple dance companies. 

She has also worked with organizations that support marginalized populations, such as the homeless and mentally ill. 

Green has published eight books of poetry and one play, in addition to co-editing two anthologies. She won the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2003 and was inaugurated as the North Carolina Piedmont Laureate in 2009.

In 2014, Green was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. She has also been recognized by Orange County and the Triangle Community Foundation for her community service work. 

Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Green with input from the North Carolina Arts Council. During her two-year term as poet laureate, she will represent poetry and the spoken word in North Carolina.

Poet laureates are usually awarded a stipend between $5,000 and $15,000. They are responsible for participating in literary activities, working with schools and the community and creating long-term projects. Green plans to focus on historical documentary poetry of North Carolina communities.