The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, authorized by the Governor and State of Louisiana, is seeking nominations for Louisiana’s next Poet Laureate. The public is welcome to submit recommendations to the LEH now through Feb. 24, 2021. Details on submissions and the selection process is available below.
As Louisiana’s literary ambassador for two years, the Poet Laureate travels the state encouraging fellow Louisianans to explore and engage with poetry. The current Poet Laureate, John Warner Smith, has served in the position since 2019. In addition to Smith, whose term ends this August, Louisiana is blessed with a long history of poetry and great poets. Past Poets Laureate include Emma Wilson Emery, Pinkie Gordon Lane, Brenda Marie Osbey, Darrell Bourque, Julie Kane, Jack Bedell and more.
The LEH oversees the Louisiana Poet Laureate nomination process in partnership with the Governor of Louisiana and sponsors Poet Laureate public programming in libraries, museums, schools, community centers and other non-profit cultural institutions throughout the state.
Nomination and selection process
Nominations are submitted to a selection committee appointed by the LEH as required by state legislation, and poets must either be born or domiciled in Louisiana at the time of nomination. From the group, the selection committee then submits three finalists to the governor, from whom he will choose a nominee. The governor’s nominee is then sent to the state senate for confirmation.
Nominees must have published works in books, anthologies, literary journals or magazines. In addition to the public nominating period, the committee will seek input from the literary community and select nominees who reflect the diverse cultures and heritage of Louisiana. A poet may not self-nominate, and committee members may not be nominated. The Louisiana Poet Laureate is a working position that requires travel and a dedication to public programming.
The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The selection committee will deliberate in March 2021 and then make its recommendations to Governor John Bel Edwards. A final announcement will be made in the summer.
Each Poet Laureate serves a two-year term and delivers an annual public reading as designated by the LEH. Poets Laureate cannot serve two consecutive terms.
How to nominate
Nominations should be specific as to the above criteria and include the following:
- Letter or letters of nomination
- Six to eight examples of the nominee’s work, including full publication citations
- Nominee’s curriculum vitae (c.v.)
Send nominations via mail or email to:
Erin Greenwald, Poet Laureate Panel
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
938 Lafayette St., Suite 300
New Orleans, LA 70113
For more information, contact Erin Greenwald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
image: John Warner Smith at his inaugural reading as Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2019; photo by Aaron Sarles