Poet laureate

A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate) is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected to compose poems for special events and occasions. The Italians Albertino Mussato and Francesco Petrarca were the first to be crowned poets laureate after the classical age, respectively in 1315 and 1342.[1] In Britain, the term dates from the appointment of Bernard André by Henry VII of England, and the royal office dates from the appointment of John Dryden in 1668.

In modern times, the title may be conferred by an organization such as the Poetry Foundation, which has a designated Children's Poet Laureate.[2]

The office is also popular with regional and community groups. Examples include the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate,[3] which is designated by a "Presenting Partners" group from within the community, the Minnesota Poet Laureate chosen by the League of Minnesota Poets (est. 1934),[4] the Northampton Poet Laureate[5] chosen by the Northampton Arts Council,[6] and the Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate chosen by ten judges representing the Martha's Vineyard Poetry Society.

Over a dozen national governments continue the poet laureate tradition.

Torquato Tasso
A depiction of Torquato Tasso from a German encyclopedia, 1905. Note the laurel crown.


In ancient Greece, the laurel was used to form a crown or wreath of honour for poets and heroes. The custom derives from the ancient myth of Daphne and Apollo (Daphne signifying "laurel" in Greek), and was revived in Padua for Albertino Mussato,[7] followed by Petrarch's own crowning ceremony in the audience hall of the medieval senatorial palazzo on the Campidoglio on 8 April 1341.[8] Because the Renaissance figures who were attempting to revive the Classical tradition lacked detailed knowledge of the Roman precedent they were attempting to emulate, these ceremonies took on the character of doctoral candidatures.[9]

Since the office of poet laureate has become widely adopted, the term "laureate" has come to signify recognition for preeminence or superlative achievement (cf. Nobel laureate). A royal degree in rhetoric, poet laureate was awarded at European universities in the Middle Ages. The term therefore may refer to the holder of such a degree, which recognized skill in rhetoric, grammar and language.

By country


The Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate is appointed as an officer of the Library of Parliament. The position alternates between an English and French speaking laureate. Candidates must be able to write in both English and French, have a substantial publication history (including poetry) displaying literary excellence and have written work reflecting Canada, among other criteria.

The first laureate was George Bowering, in 2002. In 2004, the title was transferred to Pauline Michel, in 2006 to John Steffler until December 3, 2008, to Pierre DesRuisseaux on April 28, 2009, and to Fred Wah in December 2011. Michel Pleau was installed in January, 2014.

Dominican Republic

Poets Laureate of Dominican Republic include: Pedro Mir (1984).


Officially designated Laureate includes Tsegaye GebreMedhin. Tsegaye's award is made by the commissioned/established by His Majesty, Haile-Selasie II. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsegaye_Gabre-Medhin http://www.tsegaye.se/


Poets Laureate of Nazi Germany include: Hanns Johst from 1935 to 1946.


Andhra Pradesh

Sripada Krishnamurty Sastry was the first poet laureate of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Tamil Nadu

Kannadasan was the poet laureate of Tamil Nadu at the time of his death.


Malek o-Sho'arā Bahār was the poet laureate of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar. He was born in Mashhad in 1884 (d. 1951) and was a conservative figure among the modernists.


The closest equivalent is the title Saoi ["wise one"] held by up to seven members at a time of Aosdána, an official body of those engaged in fine arts, literature, and music. Poets awarded the title include Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Anthony Cronin, and Seamus Heaney.


The unofficial Poet Laureate of Netherlands is Tsead Bruinja as Dichter des Vaderlands (Poet of the Fatherland). The previous laureate was Ester Naomi Perquin. Gerrit Komrij was the first Dichter des Vaderlands. The title was created by Dutch media.

New Zealand

New Zealand has had an official poet laureate since 1998. Originally sponsored by Te Mata vineyards and known as the Te Mata Estate Poet Laureate, the award is now administered by the National Library of New Zealand and the holder is called New Zealand Poet Laureate. The term of office is two years. The symbol of office is a Tokotoko, a carved wooden ceremonial orator's staff.

The first holder was Bill Manhire, in 1998–99, then Hone Tuwhare (2000–01), Elizabeth Smither (2002–03), Brian Turner (2004–05), Jenny Bornholdt (2006–07), Michele Leggott (2008–09), Cilla McQueen (2009–11), Ian Wedde (2011–13), Vincent O'Sullivan (2013–15), C. K. Stead (2015–2017), and Selina Tusitala Marsh (2017-present).[10][11]


Poets Laureate of Nigeria include: Obo Aba Hisanjani.

North Korea

Beginning around 1994, North Korea had 6 active poets laureate who worked in the epic genre.[12] Epic poetry was the chief vehicle of political propaganda during the rule of Kim Jong-il, and the poets worked according to the requests and needs of Kim Jong-il.[12] Some of the poets are Jang Jin-sung (pseudonym), Kim Man-young and Shin Byung-gang.[12]

Saint Lucia

Poets Laureate of Saint Lucia include: Derek Walcott.


Sierra Leone

Poets laureate of Sierra Leone include the Italian authors Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau.[17]


Poets laureate of Somalia include: Hadraawi.


Mehmet Akif Ersoy was the Poet-Laureate, born in 1873 and died on December 27, 1936, famous Turkish poet. He composed the poem to be the National Anthem of the Turkish Republic that written in 1921."Original name of the poem is İstiklal Marşı"

United Kingdom


The more general use of the term "poet laureate" is restricted in England to the official office of Poet Laureate, attached to the royal household. However, no authoritative historical record exists of the office of Poet Laureate of England.

The office developed from earlier practice when minstrels and versifiers were members of the king's retinue. Richard Cœur-de-Lion had a versificator regis (English: king's poet), Gulielmus Peregrinus (William the Pilgrim), and Henry III had a versificator named Master Henry. In the fifteenth century, John Kay, a versifier, described himself as Edward IV's "humble poet laureate".

According to Wharton, King Henry I paid 10 shillings a year to a versificator regis. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340–1400) was called Poet Laureate, being granted in 1389 an annual allowance of wine. W. Hamilton describes Chaucer, Gower, Kay, Andrew Bernard, John Skelton, Robert Whittington, Richard Edwards and Samuel Daniel as "volunteer Laureates".

John Skelton studied at the University of Oxford in the early 1480s and was advanced to the degree of "poet laureate" in 1488, when he joined the court of King Henry VII to tutor the future Henry VIII. The title of laureate was also conferred on him by the University of Louvain in 1492 and by the University of Cambridge in 1492–3. He soon became famous for his rhetoric, satire and translations and was held in high esteem by the printer William Caxton, who wrote, in the preface to The Boke of Eneydos compyled by Vargyle (Modern English: The Book of the Aeneid, compiled by Virgil) (1490):

But I pray mayster John Skelton, late created poete laureate in the unyversite of Oxenforde, to oversee and correct this sayd booke.

The academic use of the term laureate became associated again with royalty when King James I created a pension for Ben Jonson in 1617, although there is no formal record extant. He was succeeded by William Davenant.

The royal office Poet Laureate was officially conferred by letters patent on John Dryden in 1668, after Davenant's death, and the post became a regular institution. Dryden's successor Shadwell originated annual birthday and New Year odes. The poet laureate became responsible for writing and presenting official verses to commemorate both personal occasions, such as the monarch's birthday or royal births and marriages, and public occasions, such as coronations and military victories. His activity in this respect varied according to circumstances, and the custom ceased to be obligatory after Pye's death. The office fell into some contempt before Robert Southey, but took on a new lustre from his personal distinction and that of successors Wordsworth and Tennyson. Wordsworth stipulated before accepting the honour that no formal effusions from him should be required. Due to his age, he became the only laureate to write no official poetry. Tennyson was generally happy in his numerous poems of this class.

On Tennyson's death there was a considerable feeling that there was no acceptable successor. William Morris and Swinburne were hardly suitable as court poets. Eventually the undesirability of breaking the tradition for temporary reasons, and severing the one official link between literature and the state, prevailed over the protests against allowing someone of inferior genius to follow Tennyson. Abolition was similarly advocated when Warton and Wordsworth died.

Edward Gibbon condemned the position's artificial approach to poetry:

From Augustus to Louis, the muse has too often been false and venal: but I much doubt whether any age or court can produce a similar establishment of a stipendiary poet, who in every reign, and at all events, is bound to furnish twice a year a measure of praise and verse, such as may be sung in the chapel, and, I believe, in the presence, of the sovereign. I speak the more freely, as the best time for abolishing this ridiculous custom is while the prince is a man of virtue and the poet a man of genius.

— Gibbon: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Chapter LXX (footnote)

The salary has varied, but traditionally includes some alcohol. Ben Jonson first received a pension of 100 marks, and later an annual "terse of Canary wine". Dryden had a pension of £300 and a butt of Canary wine. Pye received £27 instead of the wine. Tennyson drew £72 a year from the Lord Chamberlain's department, and £27 from the Lord Steward's "in lieu of the butt of sack". The current annual salary is £5,750. [18]

The present laureate is Carol Ann Duffy, appointed in May 2009. The United Kingdom also has a "Children's Laureate".


The Edinburgh Makar was traditionally seen as the unpaid equivalent of a poet laureate, tasked with representing and promoting poetry in Scotland. Since 2004, the Scottish Parliament has appointed an official Scots Makar, from the Makars of the various cities. On 16 February 2004, Professor Edwin Morgan was appointed to both the Edinburgh post and the national role. On his death he was succeeded (in January 2011) by Liz Lochhead.[19]


Wales has had a long tradition of poets and bards under royal patronage, with extant writing from medieval royal poets and earlier. The office of National Poet for Wales was established in April 2005. The first holder, Gwyneth Lewis, was followed by Gwyn Thomas

United States of America

The United States Library of Congress appointed a Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1937 to 1984. An Act of Congress changed the name in 1985 to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

Laureates receive a US$35,000 stipend and are given the responsibility of overseeing an ongoing series of poetry readings and lectures at the library, and a charge to promote poetry. No other duties are specified, and laureates are not required to compose for government events or in praise of government officials. However, after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the then-Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, was asked to write a poem to be read in front of a special joint session of Congress. Collins wrote "The Names" which he read on September 6, 2002, which is available in streaming audio and video.[20] The original intent of the $35,000 stipend was to provide the Poet Laureate with a full income so that they could devote their time entirely to writing poetry. The amount has not been adjusted for inflation and is now considered a moderate bonus intended to supplement a poet's already-existing income. Most Poets Laureate earn the bulk of their income through University employment.

Tracy K. Smith is the current laureate. Previous laureates include Juan Felipe Herrera, Philip Levine, W. S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Karl Shapiro, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wilbur, Joseph Brodsky, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Hass, Donald Hall, Robert Pinsky (three terms), Mark Strand, Audre Lorde, and Maxine Kumin.

A number of American state legislatures have also created an office of Poet Laureate. The holders may be locally or nationally prominent.


The office of Poet Laureate of Alabama was created for Samuel Minturn Peck in 1930. The post has been continuously filled since 1954 on a four-year renewable basis. Poets Laureate serve at the pleasure of the governor.


The state of Arizona established a state Poet Laureate position in 2013, appointing Alberto Ríos as the inaugural Poet Laureate.


The state of California established a state Poet Laureate under Governor Hiram Warren Johnson[21] and appointed Ina Donna Coolbrith on June 30, 1915. Coolbrith was later acknowledged as the "Loved Laurel-Crowned Poet of California" by a 1919 state Senate resolution, retaining the title until her death in 1928.[22] Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in March, 2012.[23]

    • Cities
  • Albany chose its first poet laureate, Christina Hutchins, in 2008.[28]
  • Berkeley selected its first Poet Laureate in 2017: Rafael Jesús González [29] Before this, in 2004, Julia Vinograd had been recognised officially as Berkeley’s unofficial poet laureate.[30]
  • Cupertino's first Poet Laureate, Dave Denny, was selected in 2010. The current Poet Laureate is Kaecey McCormick.
  • El Cerrito selected its first poet laureate summer 2016.
  • East Palo Alto’s Poet Laureate is Kalamu Chaché.
  • Fresno selected James Tyner as its first poet laureate in 2013.[31] In 2015, Lee Herrick was named the second poet laureate.[32] The current poet laureate, selected in 2017, is Bryan Medina.[33]
  • Los Angeles selected its first poet laureate, Eloise Klein Healy, in December 2012.[34]
  • Richmond's poet laureate program began in 2004 with three laureates: Brenda Quintanilla (student), Donte Clark (non-senior adult), Lincoln Bergman (senior).[35]


The State of Colorado appointed one of the most popular Poets Laureate of the late 20th century, singer/songwriter writer John Denver.[36]


Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Albert Mills—twin brothers who are known as the "Twin Poets"—were appointed 17th Poets Laureate of the State of Delaware on December 13, 2015.[37] According to the Library of Congress, they are the first co-laureates appointed by a state and the first siblings to share the position.[38]


Edmund Skellings was selected as the poet laureate of Florida in 1980.[39] He died in 2012.[40]


Illinois appointed its first poet laureate, Howard Austin, in 1936, followed by Carl Sandburg (1962 - 1967), and Gwendolyn Brooks (1968 - 2000), all with lifetime appointments. The post is now a four-year renewable award.[41] The Illinois poet laureate since 2003 has been Kevin Stein.[42]


The position was created July 1, 1999 by Subchapter 303.89 of the Iowa Code with a two-year renewable term.[43]

Marvin Bell was Iowa's first poet laureate,[43] from 2000-2004.

Mary Swander [1] was the poet laureate of Iowa as of April 2016.[43]


The city of Takoma Park Poet Laureate program, established in 2005, honors the achievements of a local poet, encouraging a wider appreciation of poetry and literature. Poet Laureate emeritus include Donald Berger (2005–2007) and Anne Becker (2007–2011). The Poet Laureate as of 2011 was Merrill Leffler.


Sam Cornish was appointed the first Boston poet laureate in 2008, succeeded in 2015 by Danielle Legros Georges.


In May 2007, Gov. Pawlenty reversed his opposition and signed Section 4, Chapter 148 of the Minnesota Session Laws 2007, establishing the state poet laureate. Robert Bly was appointed the first Minnesota poet laureate on February 27, 2008, succeeded on August 23, 2011 by Joyce Sutphen.


The state of Ohio created the position of Poet Laureate in 2014. Dr. Amit Majmudar of Dublin, Ohio was named the first state Poet Laureate by Gov. John Kasich, for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2016. Dave Lucas of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was appointed for the term January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. [44]


"Pek" Gunn, a native of Bold Spring, Tennessee and a close friend and politically ally of former Governor of Tennessee Frank Clement, was the first Tennessean given the title of State Poet Laureate, in the 1970s.


The state of Texas established a Poet Laureate in 1932 (historical list of Texas poets laureate). The term as of 2016 is one year.[45]

In April 2012, San Antonio became the first Texas city to appoint a Poet Laureate, Carmen Tafolla.[46] The San Antonio Poet Laureate serves a two-year term. Laurie Ann Guerrero was appointed on April 1, 2014.[47]


The state of Utah has appointed a Poet Laureate since 1997. The first was David Lee (January 24, 1997, to December 2002), followed by Ken Brewer (January 24, 2003, to March 15, 2006), Katharine Coles (October 27, 2006, to May, 2012), and Lance Larsen, appointed May 3, 2012, by Governor Gary Herbert. The current poet laureate in Utah is Paisley Rekdal, appointed by Governor Gary Herbert in May 2017.[48]


The Commonwealth of Virginia has appointed a Poet Laureate since December 18, 1936. The first was Carter Warner Wormeley, appointed for life. Appointments from 1942 until 1992 were for one year, with many reappointed for multiple terms. In 1992, the term was increased to two years. Since 1998 appointments are made from list of nominees presented by the Poetry Society of Virginia, established at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1923.[49]


The current Poet Laureate of Wisconsin is Karla Huston, 2017-2018 [50]


Eugene Gagliano has been the Poet Laureate of Wyoming since July 2016. [51]


  1. ^ Robert Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity (Oxford, 1973);Ernest Hatch Wilkins, The Making of the Canzoniere and Other Petrarchan Studies 1951:9-69, noted in Weiss 1973:32.
  2. ^ http://www.poetryfoundation.org/children/poet-laureate Children's Poet Laureate
  3. ^ http://www.pikespeakpoetlaureate.org/current_poet.html Pikes Peak Poet Laureate
  4. ^ http://www.mnpoets.com/poet-laureate/
  5. ^ "www.northamptonartscouncil.org". Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  6. ^ http://www.northamptonartscouncil.org/ Northampton Arts Council
  7. ^ Robert Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity (Oxford, 1973) 20.
  8. ^ Ernest Hatch Wilkins, The Making of the Canzoniere and Other Petrarchan Studies 1951:9-69, noted in Weiss 1973:32.
  9. ^ Weiss 1973.
  10. ^ "Auckland professor named NZ Poet Laureate". The New Zealand Herald. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b c Jang Jin-sung (2014). "Chapter 1: Psychological Warfare". Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee--A Look Inside North Korea. 37 Ink. ISBN 978-1476766553.
  13. ^ Marko Živković (2011). Serbian Dreambook: National Imaginary in the Time of Milošević. Indiana University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-253-22306-7.
  14. ^ Nicholson Baker (9 October 2014). The Paul Chowder Chronicles: The Anthologist and Traveling Sprinkler, Two Novels. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-698-18173-1.
  15. ^ Laurence Mitchell (2013). Serbia. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-84162-463-1.
  16. ^ Charles A. Ward; Shashko, Philip; Donald E. Pienkos (1980). Studies in Ethnicity: The East European Experience in America. Boulder : East European Monographs ; New York. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-914710-67-7.
  17. ^ Redazione. "La Sierra Leone conferisce a Roberto Malini e Dario Picciau le onorificenze di Poet Laureate e Artist Laureate". Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  18. ^ https://www.ft.com/content/66dbd7ea-3630-11de-af40-00144feabdc0 Financial Times: Duffy named first woman poet laureate
  19. ^ "Liz Lochhead confirmed as new Scots Makar". BBC News. 19 January 2011.
  20. ^ https://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/poems/july-dec02/names_9-06.html#
  21. ^ California State Government. "CA Codes (8760-8765)". State Covernement Codes. California State Government.
  22. ^ California State Government. "California Arts Council". California State Poet Laureate. California State Government. Archived from the original on 2013-07-26.
  23. ^ Miller, Beteye (March 21, 2012). "Juan Felipe Herrera Named California Poet Laureate". UCR Today.
  24. ^ http://kernarts.org/poet-laureate-2/
  25. ^ http://www.marinlibrary.org/poet/
  26. ^ http://www.sanmateocountypoet.org
  27. ^ https://www.sccgov.org/sites/opa/opa/programs/PoetLaureate/Pages/Santa-Clara-County-in-Poetry-2009-2011.aspx
  28. ^ Benjamin, Laurel (April 15, 2011). "Albany's First Poet Laureate Builds Lyrical Bridge Between City, Community". Albany Patch. Albany. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  29. ^ https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/2017/09_Sep/Documents/Proclamation__09-12-2017_Poet_Laureate.aspx
  30. ^ Whiting, Sam (9 December 2018). "Julia Vinograd, Berkeley poet known as the Bubble Lady, dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  31. ^ Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson (May 30, 2013). "Why Fresno Is The Land Of Poets". wbur: Boston's NPR Station.
  32. ^ Herrick, Lee (August 27, 2015). "Lee Herrick: Fresno taught me to write, dream". The Fresno Bee.
  33. ^ www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/fresno-beehive/article147406804.html
  34. ^ Hector Tobar (December 7, 2012). "Eloise Klein Healy accepts L.A. poet laureate post in ceremony". Los Angeles Times.
  35. ^ Three poets laureate selected to represent Richmond over next two years. The Richmond Standard. July 14, 2014. Accessed May 11, 2016.
  36. ^ "John Denver". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  37. ^ Yasiejko, Christopher (December 13, 2015). "Delaware Poets Laureate: For Twin Poets, a lifetime of using art to reach Delawareans leads to a national first". Delaware Division of the Arts. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  38. ^ "An afternoon with the Delaware Poets Laureate set April 23". Cape Gazette. April 1, 2016.
  39. ^ "Florida's Poet Laureate". Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  40. ^ Florida needs a poet laureate but with term limits this time October 24, 2013 Time
  41. ^ https://www.loc.gov/rr/main/poets/illinois.html
  42. ^ https://www.illinois.gov/poetlaureate/Pages/bio.aspx
  43. ^ a b c https://www.loc.gov/rr/main/poets/iowa.html. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  44. ^ http://www.oac.ohio.gov/grantsprogs/Guidelines/StaticPages/Ohio%20Poet%20Laureate%20-%20nomination%20guidelines.pdf
  45. ^ "Texas Poets Laureate - TSLAC". Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  46. ^ "Houston, San Antonio and McAllen Hire Poet Laureates". The Texas Observer. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  47. ^ "San Antonio's New Poet Laureate: A Southside Writer Who 'Works With Her Hands' - The Rivard Report". The Rivard Report. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  48. ^ https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865679737/U-English-professor-named-Utah-poet-laureate.html
  49. ^ https://www.loc.gov/rr/main/poets/virginia.html ~ Virginia Law and Library of Congress List of Poets Laureate of Virginia
  50. ^ https://www.wisconsinacademy.org/wisconsin-poet-laureate
  51. ^ http://governor.wyo.gov/media/news-releases/2016-news-releases/governormeadappointseugenemgaglianoofbuffaloaspoetlaureate

External links

Billy Collins

William James Collins, known as Billy Collins, (born March 22, 1941) is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. In 2016, Collins retired from his position as a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York after teaching there almost 50 years. Collins is the Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida. Collins was considered as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004 through 2006. As of 2018, he is a teacher in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.

C. K. Stead

Christian Karlson "Karl" Stead (born 17 October 1932) is a New Zealand writer whose works include novels, poetry, short stories, and literary criticism.One of Karl Stead's novels, Smith's Dream, provided the basis for the film Sleeping Dogs, starring Sam Neill; this became the first New Zealand film released in the United States. Mansfield: A Novel was a finalist for the 2005 Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize and received commendation in the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the South East Asia and South Pacific region. He won the 2010 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award for 'Last Season’s Man'.C. K. Stead was born in Auckland. For much of his career he was Professor of English at the University of Auckland, retiring in 1986 to write full-time. He received a CBE in 1985 and was admitted into the highest honour New Zealand can bestow, the Order of New Zealand in 2007. In August 2015, he was named the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2015 to 2017.To celebrate the conclusion of CK Stead's term as Poet Laureate, the Alexander Turnbull Library published a signed, limited edition book of his work called In the mirror, and dancing. The little volume of poems was hand-pressed by Brendan O'Brien and illustrated with line sketches by New Zealand expatriate artist Douglas MacDiarmid. The book was launched on 8 August 2017 in Wellington, with the assistance of Gregory O'Brien. On 25 August 2017, Pasifika poet-scholar Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh was named the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2017-2019.

Donald Hall

Donald Andrew Hall Jr. (September 20, 1928 – June 23, 2018) was an American poet, writer, editor and literary critic. He was the author of over 50 books across several genres from children's literature, biography, memoir, essays, and including 22 volumes of verse. Hall was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard, and Oxford. Early in his career, he became the first poetry editor of The Paris Review (1953–1961), the quarterly literary journal, and was noted for interviewing poets and other authors on their craft.

On June 14, 2006, Hall was appointed as the Library of Congress's 14th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry (commonly known as "Poet Laureate of the United States"). He is regarded as a "plainspoken, rural poet," and it has been said that, in his work, he "explores the longing for a more bucolic past and reflects [an] abiding reverence for nature."Hall was respected for his work as an academic, having taught at Stanford University, Bennington College and the University of Michigan, and having made significant contributions to the study and craft of writing.

Henry James Pye

Henry James Pye (; 10 February 1744 – 11 August 1813) was an English poet, and Poet Laureate from 1790 until his death. He was the first poet laureate to receive a fixed salary of £27 instead of the historic tierce of Canary wine (though it was still a fairly nominal payment; then as now the Poet Laureate had to look to extra sales generated by the prestige of the office to make significant money from the Laureateship).

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera (born December 27, 1948) is a poet, performer, writer, cartoonist, teacher, and activist. Herrera was the 21st United States Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017.Herrera's experiences as the child of migrant farmers have strongly shaped his work, such as the children's book Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award in 1997. Community and art have always been part of what has driven Herrera, beginning in the mid-1970s, when he was director of the Centro Cultural de la Raza, an occupied water tank in Balboa Park that had been converted into an arts space for the community.Herrera’s publications include fourteen collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children, with twenty-one books in total in the last decade. His 2007 volume 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 contains texts in both Spanish and English that examine the cultural hybridity that "revolve around questions of identity" on the U.S.-Mexico border. Herrera was awarded the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Half the World in Light. In 2012, he was appointed California Poet Laureate by Gov. Jerry Brown.In 2011, Herrera was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2015, Herrera was appointed as the nation's first Chicana or Chicano poet laureate.On June 11, 2016, Herrera was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Oregon State University.


In English, the word laureate has come to signify eminence or association with literary awards or military glory. It is also used for winners of the Nobel Prize, Gandhi Peace Award and the Student Peace Prize.

List of U.S. states' Poets Laureate

Many of the states in the United States have established the post of poet laureate to which a prominent poet residing in the respective state is appointed. The responsibilities of the state poets laureate are similar to those of the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom and the equivalent Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in the United States, to make public appearances at poetry readings or literary events, and to promote awareness of poetry within their geographical region.

As of 2017, 46 states and the District of Columbia have poets laureate, although a few are presently vacant. The terms can vary in length from state to state. Most states appoint a poet laureate for a one- or two-year term, fewer to several years, and some states appoint a poet to a lifetime tenure. Two states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, previously had such posts but abolished them in 2003. Michigan had a single poet laureate from 1952–1959. There has never been an official State Poet Laureate in Massachusetts or New Mexico. While Idaho does not have a post of "poet laureate", per se, the state appoints a "Writer in Residence", which can be held by a novelist or poet. The current occupant of the Idahoan post is novelist and short-story writer Diane Raptosh.

List of poets

This is an alphabetical list of internationally notable poets.


A makar ( (listen)) is a term from Scottish literature for a poet or bard, often thought of as a royal court poet.

In literary history, the term The Makars is specifically used to refer to a number of poets of fifteenth and sixteenth century Scotland, in particular Robert Henryson, William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas, who wrote a diverse genre of works in Middle Scots in the period of the Northern Renaissance.

The Makars have often been referred to by literary critics as Scots Chaucerians. In modern usage, poets of the Scots revival in the 18th century, such as Allan Ramsay and Robert Fergusson are also makars.

Since 2002, the term "makar" has been revived as the name for a publicly funded poet, first in Edinburgh, followed by Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee, and in 2004 the position of The Scots Makar, in the sense of a Scottish poet laureate, was introduced by the Scottish Parliament.

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey (born April 26, 1966) is an American poet who was appointed United States Poet Laureate in 2012 and again in 2014. She won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her 2006 collection Native Guard, and she is a former Poet Laureate of Mississippi.She is the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University and Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, where she has taught since 2001.Trethewey was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2019, at which time Academy Chancellor David St. John said Trethewey “is one of our formal masters, a poet of exquisite delicacy and poise who is always unveiling the racial and historical inequities of our country and the ongoing personal expense of these injustices. Rarely has any poetic intersection of cultural and personal experience felt more inevitable, more painful, or profound.”

North Carolina Poet Laureate

The North Carolina Poet Laureate is the poet laureate for the US state of North Carolina. At first a life appointment, the term of office is now two years. The program is run by the North Carolina Arts Council. Laureates are appointed by the Governor of North Carolina.

Patti Smith

Patricia Lee Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, poet, and visual artist who became an influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.Called the "punk poet laureate," Smith fused rock and poetry in her work. Her most widely known song is "Because the Night," which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978 and number five in the U.K. In 2005, Smith was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.On November 17, 2010, Smith won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. The book fulfilled a promise she had made to her former long-time roommate and partner, Robert Mapplethorpe. She placed 47th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Artists published in December 2010 and was also a recipient of the 2011 Polar Music Prize.

Philip Levine (poet)

Philip Levine (January 10, 1928 – February 14, 2015) was an American poet best known for his poems about working-class Detroit. He taught for more than thirty years in the English department of California State University, Fresno and held teaching positions at other universities as well. He served on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets from 2000 to 2006, and was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States for 2011–2012.

Poet Laureate of New Jersey

The Poet Laureate of New Jersey (statutorily known as New Jersey William Carlos Williams Citation of Merit) was an honor presented biennially by the Governor of New Jersey to a distinguished New Jersey poet. Created in 1999, this position existed for less than four years and was abolished by the legislature effective July 2, 2003. When the New Jersey State Legislature created the laureate position, the bill provided specifically for the creation of an award named in honor of twentieth-century poet and physician William Carlos Williams (1883–1963) who resided in Rutherford, New Jersey. However, the legislature recognized that the award's recipient would "be considered the poet laureate of the State of New Jersey for a period of two years. Before the position was abolished, only two poets, Gerald Stern and Amiri Baraka, had been appointed as the state's poet laureate.

The legislature's bill was signed into law by Governor Christine Todd Whitman. It was expected that the award's recipient—the poet laureate—would "engage in activities to promote and encourage poetry within the State and shall give no fewer than two public readings within the State each year." In this respect, New Jersey's poet laureate was similar to the position of Poet laureate in other American states and in several other countries. However, a public reading in September 2002 by the state's second laureate, Newark-based poet Amiri Baraka, of his poem "Somebody Blew Up America" was met with harsh criticism by the public and news media. The poem, which explores the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, was criticized by many as violent, incendiary, and anti-Semitic, and the ensuing controversy ignited a political firestorm. Because of Baraka's defiant refusals to apologize or resign as poet laureate and since there was no mechanism in the law to remove him, the position was abolished by the legislature and Governor James E. McGreevey in 2003.

Poet Laureate of Virginia

The position of Poet Laureate of Virginia was established December 18, 1936 by the Virginia General Assembly.Originally the Poet Laureate of Virginia was appointed without outside consultation by the General Assembly, usually for one year, in a process that has been described being "more of a political thing".As of 1996 the procedure was changed and most recently codified in 1998 in Virginia Code, Sec. 7.1–43, as follows:

7.1-43. Poet laureate.

The honorary position of Poet Laureate of Virginia is hereby created. Beginning in 1998, the Governor may appoint a poet laureate from a list of nominees submitted by the Poetry Society of Virginia. Each poet laureate shall serve a term of two years with no restrictions on reappointment.

(1997, c. 299.)The Virginia General Assembly now confirms the governor's appointment.

Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom

The British Poet Laureate is an honorary position appointed by the monarch of the United Kingdom on the advice of the Prime Minister. The role does not entail any specific duties, but there is an expectation that the holder will write verse for significant national occasions. The origins of the laureateship date back to 1616 when a pension was provided to Ben Jonson, but the first official holder of the position was John Dryden, appointed in 1668 by Charles II. On the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who held the post between November 1850 and October 1892, there was a break of four years as a mark of respect; Tennyson's laureate poems "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" were particularly cherished by the Victorian public. Three poets, Thomas Gray, Samuel Rogers and Walter Scott, turned down the laureateship. The holder of the position as at 2019 is Carol Ann Duffy, who was appointed in May 2009 on a fixed ten-year term.

Rita Dove

Rita Frances Dove (born August 28, 1952) is an American poet and essayist. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She is the first African-American to have been appointed since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous "consultant in poetry" position (1937–86). Dove also received an appointment as "special consultant in poetry" for the Library of Congress's bicentennial year from 1999 to 2000. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1987, and she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006.

The West Wing (season 3)

The third season of the American political drama television series The West Wing aired in the United States on NBC from October 3, 2001 to May 22, 2002 and consisted of 21 episodes and 2 special episodes.

United States Poet Laureate

The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate—serves as the official poet of the United States. During their term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. The position was modeled on the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. Begun in 1937, and formerly known as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, the present title was devised and authorized by an Act of Congress in 1985. The Poet Laureate's office is administered by the Center for the Book. For children's poets, the Poetry Foundation awards the Young People's Poet Laureate.

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