Kentucky Poet Laureate History
Kentucky Poet Laureate
2017 — 2018
“In my teaching, I like to bring poetry to everyone. I imagine that will color
some of what I do as poet laureate.” — Frederick Smock, Kentucky Poet Laureate
To request a reading or other activity, email the poet laureate at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include "Poet Laureate Request" in the subject line.
The position of Kentucky Poet Laureate was originally established in 1926 by an act of the
Kentucky General Assembly. James T. Cotton Noe was selected for the position. Prior
to 1990, poets laureate were appointed to lifetime terms by the General Assembly. At times
several people held the position simultaneously.
In 1990, new legislation was enacted (KRS 153.600) to provide for the gubernatorial appointment of a state poet laureate for a two-year term. The Kentucky Poet Laureates duties include promoting the literary arts and leading the state in literary activities, including Kentucky Writers Day (KRS 153.620), which is celebrated annually on April 24 to commemorate the birthday of Kentuckian Robert Penn Warren, the first poet laureate of the United States.
The Kentucky Poet Laureate is selected following a public call for nominations coordinated by the Kentucky Arts Council. Nominees for this position must reside in Kentucky, have a long association with the Commonwealth, and have a critically acclaimed published body of work that is informed by living in Kentucky. The word "poet" in the position's title is interpreted in its broadest sense to include writers whose accomplishments are in any literary form. An independent panel reviews the nominations and submits its recommendation to the Governor for appointment.
The new poet laureate is usually inducted on April 24 of odd-numbered years in conjunction with Kentucky Writers Day celebrations.
Past Poets Laureate
(Associate Poet Laureate)
* Gubernatorial Appointment
Source: Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and the Kentucky Arts Council.
Page last updated: April 19, 2017
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