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Announcing Louisiana’s Next Poet Laureate

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, along with Gov. John Bel Edwards, is proud to announce Louisiana’s newest Poet Laureate, Alison Pelegrin. Following Mona Lisa Saloy’s successful tenure as Poet Laureate from 2021 through August 13 of this year, Pelegrin will assume the post beginning August 14 and serve for two years.

“The Poet Laureate acts as Louisiana’s literary ambassador, and Alison’s long record of teaching, sharing, and producing poetry that engages readers makes her a perfect fit as the preeminent poet of our state,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “Her work is both beautifully crafted and appeals to a broad range of readers, and it will undoubtedly help elevate poetry in the public consciousness.  She has been celebrated both statewide and nationally for good reason. Congratulations to Alison on this well-deserved honor.”

Pelegrin, a Covington resident, is Writer-in-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University and the author of Our Lady of Bewilderment (LSU Press, 2022), Waterlines (LSU Press, 2016), Hurricane Party (University of Akron Press, 2011), and Big Muddy River of Stars (University of Akron Press, 2007), which was the winner of the 2006 Akron Poetry Prize. Her chapbook Our Lady of the Flood won the Diode 2018 chapbook prize and an Eric Hoffer Award.

Pelegrin is the recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and an ATLAS Grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents. Her work has appeared in Bennington Review, The Southern Review,  and Ninth Letter, and as printable broadsides at Broadsided.

As Louisiana Poet Laureate for the next two years, Pelegrin will travel the state encouraging fellow Louisianans to explore and engage with poetry. In addition to Saloy, previous recent poets laureate include John Warner Smith, Jack Bedell, Brenda Marie Osbey, Darrell Bourque, Julie Kane, Ava Leavell Haymon, and Peter Cooley.

According to selection guidelines, nominees must have published works in books, anthologies, literary journals, or magazines. In addition, the selection committee must seek information from the general public and the literary community. The committee must select nominees who reflect the diverse cultures and heritage of Louisiana.

Under state law, the LEH is charged with overseeing the Poet Laureate nomination process. This year’s nomination panel included outgoing Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy; past poets laureate Bedell, Bourque and Haymon; LSU Press Director and Publisher of the Southern Review Alisa Plant; LEH Executive Director and President Miranda Restovic; and LEH Vice President of Public Programs Erin Greenwald.

The Poet Laureate will be available for public programming, including readings, workshops, and lectures, at venues across Louisiana during her tenure. Sites that wish to host the Poet Laureate can find more information here.