How to nominate the seventh Missouri poet laureate

·2 min read
Current state poet laureate Maryfrances Wagner of Independence
Current state poet laureate Maryfrances Wagner of Independence

Poets help us pause long enough to notice the beauty of our world, to name what hurts and hinders us, and to seek greater understanding of both.

Missouri residents can help themselves by nominating the state's next poet laureate, its seventh, now through 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 3. Current poet laureate Maryfrances Wagner will hold the post through June 30.

Whoever succeeds Wagner will serve to enrich "the lives of residents by sharing and promoting poetry through public appearances, readings, workshops, and digital and social media," according to the Missouri Arts Council website. They also will create an original work inspired by our state.

Missourians can make nominations at the MAC website. Each nomination must include: "a narrative explaining why the poet’s work is of the highest quality and representative of the state of Missouri"; the poet's resume or CV; and work samples. Other materials can be submitted but are not required, per the online guidelines.

Nominees must be: at least 25 years old by the start of their term; a current Missouri resident who will remain living in the state through their term; and be able to both abide by and fulfill the conditions needed to take the role — explained in further detail online.

A selection committee will review nominations, then make a recommendation to Gov. Mike Parson, who will make and announce the final choice in June.

Meanwhile, Wagner will participate in this year's Unbound Book Festival, to be held in downtown Columbia April 20-23. A list of Unbound authors can be found at https://www.unboundbookfestival.com/authors2023.

Past Missouri Poets Laureate are:

  • Karen Craigo (2019-2021)

  • Aliki Barnstone (2016-2019)

  • William Trowbridge (2012-2016)

  • David Clewell (2010-2012)

  • Walter Bargen (2008-2010)

The poet laureate's term is two years, running through June 2025. Visit https://www.missouriartscouncil.org/nominate-missouri-poet-laureate/ for more information.

Aarik Danielsen is the features and culture editor for the Tribune. Contact him at adanielsen@columbiatribune.com or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.

This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: How to nominate the seventh Missouri poet laureate