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Many the U.S. states have the post of poet laureate, typically held by a prominent poet. The responsibilities of the poet laureate are typically similar to those of the British Poet Laureate and the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

Most holders of the these titles reach preeminence by public competition, and use the office to further the knowledge and enjoyment of poetry and the written word by citizens of the states in which they hold office.

Laureates have occasionally been controversial; former New Jersey laureate Amiri Baraka refused to resign after a controversy over a poem, and so New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey abolished the position.[1]

The following are the Poets Laureate of their respective states:

State Current incumbent Term of office
Alabama Sue Walker 2003-2012[2]
Alaska Nancy Lord 2008-2010
Arkansas Peggy Vining 2003-
California Carol Muske-Dukes 2008-
Colorado Mary Crow 1996-[3]
Connecticut John Hollander[4] 2006-2011
Delaware JoAnn Balingit 2008-
District of Columbia Dolores Kendrick 1999-
Florida Edmund Skellings 1980-
Georgia David Bottoms 2000-
Idaho Anthony Doerr 2007-2010
Illinois Kevin Stein 2003-
Indiana Norbert Krapf
Peggy Martin[5]
Iowa Mary Swander 2009-
Kansas Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg 2009-2011
Kentucky Gurney Norman 2009-2011
Louisiana Darrell Bourque 2009-[6]
Maine Betsy Sholl 2006-2011[7]
Maryland Michael S. Glaser[8] 2004-
Minnesota Robert Bly 2008-
Mississippi Winifred Hamrick Farrar 1978-
Missouri David Clewell 2010-2012
Montana Greg Pape 2007-
Nebraska William Kloefkorn[9] 1982-
Nevada Norman Kaye 1967-2007[10]
New Hampshire Walter E. Butts 2009-
New York Jean Valentine 2008-2010
North Carolina Kathryn Stripling Byer 2005-
North Dakota Larry Woiwode 1995-
Oklahoma Jim Barnes 2009-2010
Oregon Lawson Fusao Inada[11] 2006-
Rhode Island Lisa Starr 2007-
South Carolina Marjory Heath Wentworth 2003-
South Dakota David Allan Evans 2002-
Tennessee Margaret Britton Vaughn 1999-
Texas Paul Ruffin 2009-2010
Utah Katharine Coles 2006-2011[12]
Vermont Ruth Stone 2007-
Virginia Claudia Emerson 2008-2010
Washington Samuel Green 2007-2009
West Virginia Irene McKinney 1993-
Wisconsin Marilyn Taylor 2008-2010
Wyoming David Romtvedt 2004-

There is no such position in Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, or Pennsylvania.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Alabama Poets Laureate". Alabama Emblems, Symbols and Honors. Alabama Department of Archives & History. 2005-04-06. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  3. ^ Colorado - State Poet Laureate (Main Reading Room, Library of Congress)
  4. ^ STATE OF CONNECTICUT, Sites º Seals º Symbols; Connecticut State Register & Manual; retrieved on January 4, 2007
  5. ^ Now "premier poet" (unofficial laureate, a position in existence since 1929) as opposed to official laureate (since 2005)
  6. ^ Appointed in 2007 but not confirmed by Senate.
  7. ^ Governor John Baldacci Appoints Maine's Poet Laureate
  8. ^ Maryland State Poet Laureates
  9. ^ Kloefkorn has the title of Nebraska State Poet. John Neihardt is the Poet Laureate of Nebraska, a title that was permanently bestowed upon him in 1921.
  10. ^ Kaye is still alive. No replacement has been named. Kaye is not a poet but a former song-writer who was selected by Gov. Grant Sawyer on the strength of his membership of the Mary Kaye Trio, which recorded fifteen albums before breaking up in the mid 1960s. "According to various press accounts, Kaye is an important figure in the creation of the Vegas lounge scene in the 1940s and at one time belonged to the Mary Kaye Trio." Although he has won awards for his music, he has not published any poetry. See: Norman Kaye's website and Steve F. Lyon. "What? You've never met Nevada's poet laureate?" Lahontan Valley News, 8 November 2004.
  11. ^ Oregeon state Poet Laureate. U.S. Library of Congress; Baker, Jeff. "From Internment Camp to New Poet Laureate", Oregonian (February 18, 2006), p. C1.
  12. ^ Katharine Coles. Utah Arts Council. Retrieved on July 19, 2007

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