above: Louisiana Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy delivers remarks at The Helis Foundation John Scott Center.; Photo by Cheryl Gerber
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), 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 February 16, 2023.
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, Mona Lisa Saloy, has served in the position since 2021. In addition to Saloy, whose term ends in August, Louisiana has a strong 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, John Warner Smith and more.
The LEH oversees the Louisiana Poet Laureate nomination process in partnership with the Governor of Louisiana and supports Poet Laureate public programming in libraries, museums, schools, community centers and other nonprofit 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. From the group, the selection committee then submits three finalists to the governor, from whom he chooses a nominee. The governor’s nominee is then sent to the state Senate for confirmation.
Nominees must be domiciled in Louisiana at the time of nominations, and 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, a poet’s family member may not nominate them, committee members may not be nominated and committee members may not make nominations.
The Louisiana Poet Laureate is a working position that requires travel and a dedication to public programming. Each Poet Laureate delivers an inaugural public reading as designated by the LEH. Poets Laureate cannot serve two consecutive terms.
The deadline for nominations is Thursday, February 16, 2023. The selection committee will deliberate in March and then make its recommendations to Gov. John Bel Edwards. A final announcement will be made in summer 2023.
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. (Links to nominee’s work will not be accepted. Please submit PDF or word document samples.)
- Nominee’s curriculum vitae (c.v.).
- Letter of commitment from the nominee detailing their willingness to serve and dedication to public programming.
Send nominations via mail or email to:
Clare Shelburne, Poet Laureate Panel
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
938 Lafayette St., Suite 300
New Orleans, LA 70113
For more information, contact Clare Shelburne at [email protected].