It’s been a while since I provided an update on current state poets laureate. As of this writing, forty-two states have an official position of state poet laureate, while two states, Alaska and Idaho, have a position for “State Writer Laureate” and “Writer-in-Residence,” respectively. The position of state poet laureate or state writer is occupied in forty-two of these forty-four states. Florida, one of the two states with a vacancy, is close to having its position revamped by Florida lawmakers through Senate Bill 290, which would change the post from a lifetime to a four-year appointment.
Since the beginning of the year six states* have seen new poets laureate take office: Arizona (Alberto Ríos); Indiana (George Kalamaras); New Hampshire (Alice B. Fogel); Oregon (Peter Sears); Texas (Dean Young), and Washington (Elizabeth Austen).
A complete list of current state poets laureate follows. Poets who began their appointments in 2014 are highlighted in red.
|Alaska||Nora Marks Dauenhauer|
|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||Joseph Bathanti|
| North Dakota
|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|
One of my resolutions for National Poetry Month is to provide regular updates on the blog about new state poet appointments Please feel free to help me keep the list of state poets laureate current by contacting me with any changes you discover in the above positions.
*Update: Astute reader Ed Stover has pointed out that Washington state recently appointed Elizabeth Austen its new poet laureate. I have updated the blog post to reflect this.