Seventh Poet Laureate will serve July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025
Nominations are underway through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 3 for Missouri’s seventh Poet Laureate. The Missouri Poet Laureate program began in 2008 to foster the art of poetry, encourage literacy and learning, and encourage the reading and writing of poetry across the state. The Missouri Poet Laureate enriches the lives of residents by sharing and promoting poetry through public appearances, readings, workshops, and digital and social media.
The Missouri Poet Laureate will create a new work about the state of Missouri during their term. Upon invitation, the Missouri Poet Laureate will provide public readings and other events in urban and rural settings across the state that educate students, community members, and business, state, and civic leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression.
The Missouri Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term through June 30, 2025.
Who May Apply
All Missouri Poet Laureate nominees must fill these requirements:
- be at least 25 years of age July 1, 2023
- have been a Missouri resident prior to the nomination deadline
- remain a Missouri resident throughout the two-year term
- be able and available to reach statewide audiences through travel or other means
- provide evidence of achievement in the art of poetry, including publicly accessible work (books, literary magazines, and/or digital media)
- have received recognition or awards for contributions to poetry
- demonstrate ability to promote awareness or enjoyment of poetry
- agree to the conditions and terms of appointment
We encourage poets to self-nominate and all other members of the public to nominate eligible candidates.
The Missouri Arts Council complies with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations concerning civil and human rights. Our programs, grants, and employment practices are free of discrimination based on race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, military status, or age.
How the Poet Laureate Is Selected
Missouri’s next Poet Laureate will emerge from the public nominations that are open through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 3.
The next stage is for the Missouri Poet Laureate Selection Committee to review the submitted nominations. The Missouri Poet Laureate Committee will be composed of people throughout Missouri, with the experience to review a poet laureate.
The committee will select finalists and make recommendations to Governor Michael L. Parson. The Governor selects the Missouri Poet Laureate. The poet is notified when the Governor’s decision has been made. The Governor or their designee, along with the Missouri Arts Council, announces the Missouri Poet Laureate.
The Missouri Poet Laureate program is facilitated by the Missouri Arts Council on behalf of the Office of the Governor. Although recommendations are made for the Missouri Poet Laureate by the Selection Committee, the selection authority rests solely with the Governor.
Recognition of the Poet Laureate
The Missouri Arts Council supports the Missouri Poet Laureate related to events, activities, and performances during their term. The Poet Laureate provides information to Missouri Arts Council staff so that their activities as Poet Laureate may be effectively promoted statewide. The Poet Laureate also works with Missouri Arts Council staff on scheduling, invoicing, and other details required to complete their term.
The Missouri Arts Council awards the Missouri Poet Laureate an honorarium of $3,000 each year to acknowledge and recognize their time and talent. An additional stipend of up to $3,000 each year is awarded to defray the cost of eligible travel expenses to public engagements in which they are involved, and other expectations of the position.
The Missouri Poet Laureate is expected to perform these functions:
- contribute to the awareness of poetry throughout the state
- provide public readings and other events in a variety of public locations throughout Missouri
- participate in statewide literary events and educational programs
- promote poetry and the Missouri Poet Laureate position
- provide a written report of activities to the Missouri Arts Council
- participate in the Missouri Arts Council’s statewide events upon request, such as Poetry Out Loud
- create a new work about the state of Missouri during their two-year term
Missouri Poet Laureate Committee recommends finalists to the Governor.
The Governor selects the Missouri Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate is notified.
June 30, 2023
The 2021-23 Missouri Poet Laureate’s term ends.
July 1, 2023
The seventh Missouri Poet Laureate is publicly announced.
Past Missouri Poets Laureate
2008-10 | Walter Bargen, appointed by Governor Matt Blunt
2010-12 | David Clewell (died in 2020), appointed by Governor Jay Nixon
2012-16 | William Trowbridge, appointed by Governor Jay Nixon
2016-19 | Aliki Barnstone, appointed by Governor Jay Nixon
2019-21 | Karen Craigo, appointed by Governor Michael L. Parson
2021–present through June 30, 2023 | Maryfrances Wagner, appointed by Governor Michael L. Parson