Office of Governor: Kansas

1 July 2004

Kansas Arts Commission Accepting Nominations for Poet Laureate of Kansas for FY 2006-2007

The Kansas Arts Commission announces a call for nominations for a newly created post of

Poet Laureate of Kansas. The Poet Laureate program of Kansas is intended to serve the cultural tradition of officially recognizing a citizen poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. The program will also encourage the appreciation of poetry in Kansas by making the Poet Laureate available to a wider audience throughout the state. A nomination deadline date of Wednesday, September 1, 2004, has been established.

Nominations to the Kansas Arts Commission for the position of Poet Laureate of Kansas will be accepted for Kansas poets who are current Kansas residents and at least 18 years of age and non-students, and have resided in Kansas for the last 10 years; intend to remain a Kansas resident throughout the Poet Laureate term period of two years; and are available to travel outside their home area. Not eligible for nomination are self-nominations, current members of the Kansas Arts Commission or its staff, posthumous nominations, or undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking students.

The original impetus for the creation of a poet laureate post in Kansas began in response to numerous requests received at the Kansas Arts Commission and the Office of the Governor suggesting that such a position be established. Responding to those requests, the Kansas Arts Commission voted to proceed (with the approval of the Governor) in the development of guidelines for a poet laureate position. Guidelines were developed with input from Kansas poets and KAC staff research of other states’ poet laureate programs.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have a poet laureate. The position is established by tradition as an honor given to an individual writer in recognition of a high level of achievement in the art of poetry. The British poet laureate dates back to the 1600s and is a royal office that is awarded for life. In the United States, the national Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry has been awarded since the 1930s and carries a one-year term. The post of poet laureate may also be awarded by individual states, usually by the governor with varying terms of office. Typically, the mission of the poet laureate is to develop a greater appreciation for the writing and reading of poetry—a duty poets laureate have pursued in different ways, including workshops, special reading series, school programs, conferences, and appearances on public television.

Kansas Arts Commission Director, Dave Wilson stated, “We anticipate that the program will not only honor Kansas poets, but will also promote and encourage appreciation of poetry in Kansas by making the selected Poet Laureate available to a wider audience throughout the entire state.”

The selected Poet Laureate of Kansas will serve for a period of two years beginning July 1, 2005, and ending June 30, 2007. He or she will simultaneously serve on the Kansas Arts Commission Touring Roster. Organizations and schools may apply to receive a Kansas Arts Commission grant to help support a visit by the selected poet laureate. The Poet Laureate of Kansas will establish a program of his or her design to coincide with the term of service. This may include workshops, special reading series, school programs, conferences, specially commissioned poems or other projects promoting appreciation and writing of poetry in Kansas.

Nominations will be accepted from Kansas citizens and organizations. Guidelines and form for nomination may be found on the Kansas Arts Commission website under programs.

For more information on the Kansas Poet Laureate Program, contact Karen Brady, Program Consultant II (785) 368-6545

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