Our Work

Louisiana Poet Laureate

Supporting Louisiana’s vibrant and thriving poetry scene

As Louisiana’s literary ambassador for two years, the Poet Laureate travels the state encouraging fellow Louisianans to explore and engage with poetry.

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.

Recent Poets Laureates include Alison Pelegrin (current), Mona Lisa Saloy, John Warner Smith, Jack Bedell, Brenda Marie Osbey, Darrell Bourque, Julie Kane, Ava Leavell Haymon, and Peter Cooley. For a full list of Louisiana Poet Laureates, click here. For currently scheduled Poet Laureate programming or to host a program with the Poet Laureate see below.

Alison Pelegrin. Photo by Brian Pavlich.

2023–2025 Louisiana Poet Laureate, Alison Pelegrin

Alison Pelegrin, a Covington resident, is Writer-in-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she also taught for 20 years. She is 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, Ninth Letter, and as printable broadsides at Broadsided. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from University of Arkansas.

Do you want to bring the Poet Laureate to your town?

Typical Poet Laureate programs include lectures, readings, and workshops. Events must be free and open to the general adult public. Programs designed strictly for school-aged children are ineligible.

Please note that the Louisiana Poet Laureate is unavailable for programming on Mondays.

Potential programming applicants should contact Public Programs Coordinator Clare Shelburne at [email protected] to secure detailed information on preparing the brief application. Applications are approved in consultation with the Poet Laureate. The LEH requires that project proposals be submitted at least six weeks before the event’s start date.  

The LEH provides a baseline honorarium for the Louisiana Poet Laureate. While not required, host sites are encouraged to issue a stipend to the Poet Laureate for participation in project activities. Stipend amounts may vary depending on type of programming, geographic location of host site, and resources available to the host site. Programming details and stipend amount (if applicable) must be agreed upon between the host site and Poet Laureate in advance of completing the grant application.  

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the planned event. For access to the Poet Laureate application, please contact Public Programs Coordinator Clare Shelburne at shelburne@leh.org. 

Writers & Readers Symposium

Saturday, February 17, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tickets available now!

Hemingbough Cultural Center

10101 Hwy 965 West, St. Francisville, LA 70775


St. Charles Parish Library

Thursday, February 22

East Regional Library

160 West Campus Drive, Destrehan, LA 70047


Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Louisiana Division of the Arts

Thursday, March 7

Louisiana Division of the Arts

Poetry Out Loud

Delta Grand Theatre

120 S. Market Street Opelousas, LA  70570


Baton Rouge Community College Arts Fest

Tuesday, March 19, 12 p.m.

Baton Rouge Community College

201 Community College Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70806