‘Tis the season to be jolly, especially if you’re a poetry lover in North Carolina or Ohio!
Five months after Valerie Macon resigned as North Carolina poet laureate due to a controversy over her qualifications and the process through which she was appointed, a new North Carolina laureate has been selected. Governor Pat McCrory announced the appointment of Shelby Stephenson as the state’s new laureate yesterday, noting that the current selection process adhered more closely to previously established guidelines:
We recognize that we didn’t follow the traditional process during the last selection. However, this time my appointment comes from the strong recommendation of Secretary Kluttz and the distinguished members of the selection panel. Mr. Stephenson’s selection is a reflection of their excellent work, and North Carolina owes them a debt of gratitude.
In other state poet news, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Amended Substitute Senate Bill Number 84 into law on December 19, 2014, creating the position of Ohio Poet Laureate. Ohio becomes the forty-fifth state with an official state poet laureate or state writer position. The five states without a position are Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. Massachusetts, however, may not be part of this small group for long: House Bill 2999, introduced by Rep. Sarah K. Peake and creating “the position of poet laureate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” is currently in the House Committee on Bills in Third Reading, awaiting action before the current session ends on January 5, 2015.
If you live in Massachusetts or another state without a poet laureate, you may wish to review our previous post on ways to encourage or support the creation of a state poet laureate position.
U.S. State Poets Laureate as of December 23, 2014
|California||Juan Felipe Herrera|
|District of Columbia||Dolores Kendrick|
|Hawaii||Kealoha (Steven Kealohapau’ole Hong-Ming Wong)|
|Indiana||Unofficial: Cecil Tresslar
Official: George Kalamaras
|Kentucky||Frank X Walker|
|Louisiana||Ava Leavell Haymon|
|New Hampshire||Alice B. Fogel|
|New Jersey||No position|
|New Mexico||No position|
|New York||Marie Howe|
|North Carolina||Shelby Stephenson|
|Rhode Island||Rick Benjamin|
|South Carolina||Marjory Heath Wentworth|
|South Dakota||David Allan Evans|
|Tennessee||Margaret Britton Vaughn|
|West Virginia||Marc Harshman|
|Wyoming||Echo Roy Klaproth|