The Poetry Society
of Virginia

Since 1923

Welcome to Poet Laureate of Virginia Information Page

Included in this Page:

Poet Laureate of Virginia, Kelly Cherry (2011-2012)

Past Poets Laureate of Virginia

Four Poets Laureate of Virginia: A Teaching Guide Book

PSV Guidelines and Procedures for Poet Laureate Nominations


Current Poet Laureate 2011-2012: Kelly Cherry


Kelly Cherry was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She received a B.A. from
Mary Washington College and M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
She published her first work of fiction, Sick and Full of Burning, in 1974, closely followed
by her first collection of poetry, Love and Agnostics, in 1975. Cherry embarked
on a long affiliation with the University of Wisconsin as an English professor.  Her numerous
awards and honors include a Bread Loaf Fellowship (1975), a Pushcart Prize (1977),
a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1980), a James G. Hanes Poetry Prize from
the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 1989 for her distinguished body of work in poetry,
and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Mary Washington (2000). 
Cherry is the author of numerous poetry and fiction books, in addition to various nonfiction
works and translations.  She has published widely in  anthologies and periodicals, including
American Scholar, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Georgia Review, Los Angeles Times
Book Review, Virginia Quarterly Review,
and others.  


Poets Laureate of Virginia


Claudia Emerson
2008 - 2010

Grace Simpson
2000 - 2002

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda 
2006 - 2008

George Garrett
2002 - 2004


Rita Dove
2004 - 2006

Joseph Awad
1998 - 2000

Margaret Ward Moreland

Special Project by Four Poets Laureate of Virginia (2004)

Four Virginia Poets Laureate: A Teaching Guide
Editors: Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda and Edward W. Lull 

Four Poets Laureates of Virginia,
George Garrett (2002-2004), Grace Simpson (2000-2002),
Joseph Awad 1998-2000), and Margaret Ward Morland (1996-1998)
rewarded the audience with a memorable evening of poetry.

Price: $10.95 + $2.75 S&H 
A DVD of the performance
is available for $15.00.

For purchase information:
visit the store


PSV Guidelines and Procedures for Poet Laureate Nominations


            The president of the Poetry Society of Virginia will appoint a committee to make recommendations and to assist him/her in the task of preparing nominations for the governor.   The committee will be appointed a year before the nomination is required. 

            The committee will consist of at least three members, including the chairman.  Following approved criteria, committee members will invite, in writing, suggestions from three to six persons outside the society who are in positions to make knowledgeable recommendations, and whose opinions would be generally respected.  One of these persons will be the executive director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts. 

            The following criteria will be observed in making recommendations of laureate candidates:

            The poet must be a resident of Virginia and have resided here at least ten years.  The poet must be published in literary journals and have had at least one book of poems published.  Honors and awards received for his or her poetry should be taken into account.  The poet must be physically able and willing to make at least some requested appearances during the laureateship.  The poet need not be a teacher or a member of the PSV. 

 At the February Executive Committee meeting of the Poetry Society, the laureate committee, based on its own considerations and those of persons outside the society who have responded, will propose three to six names to the executive committee.  All members of the executive committee will have the opportunity to propose names.  Then the executive committee will vote to select six names to be placed before the membership in the March newsletter.  On the newsletter ballot there will be a space for write-in votes.  Members will be given a deadline of April 1 to get their ballots in to the committee. 

            The president of the society will recommend the three to six names receiving the most votes in a letter to the governor, in the order of preference.  Before the letter is drafted the society will check with the poets regarding their willingness to serve if appointed and to request a biographical note and samples of their work to attach to the letter.

PSVA since 1923

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