Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nominations Sought for Maine's Poet Laureate

The Maine Arts Commission and Maine State Library are currently accepting nominations for the position of Maine State Poet Laureate. Nominations will be accepted until February 25.

The Office of the State Poet Laureate was brought into law in 1995 through Maine Statute and has been occupied by distinguished Maine poets Kate Barnes from Appleton, Baron Wormser from Hallowell and presently by Elizabeth Neary Sholl from Portland. Serving a five-year term, each Laureate undertakes her or his own initiatives, advocating for and illuminating the value of the written word throughout Maine.

“Maine has made international contributions to the art of poetry,” notes Joshua Bodwell, director of the Maine Writers & Publisher Alliance. “In the mid-1800s, native-born poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow became one of the most well known writers in America for his deftness with the lyric ballad. One hundred years later, Rockland-born Edna St. Vincent Millay led a poetry revolution of her own and become just the third woman to ever receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.”

Recognizing the excellence of Maine poets today, the search for the next Poet Laureate requires, by law, that the revered position be held by a poet who resides in the state and who has published "distinguished poetry". An advisory selection committee, assembled by the directors of the Maine Arts Commission and Maine State Library, shall make a recommendation to Governor Paul LePage for appointment.

“I am quickly learning that serving as Governor comes with many interesting opportunities,” said Maine Governor Paul LePage. “Helping to select Maine’s next Poet Laureate is a great example, and I am looking forward to reading the submissions of the candidates and working with the advisory selection committee to select Maine’s next top proponent of the written word.”

Nominations, which may be self-generated, must be accompanied by five copies of the poet’s most recently published work, and three letters of recommendation. Submissions of materials may be in hard copy or digital formats and must be delivered to the Maine Arts Commission by February 25, 2011. Full details of the nomination process can be found at

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