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Arts Commission News

Nominations now being accepted for

Mississippi's Poet Laureate

Date:              November 4, 2015

As authorized by the State of Mississippi, the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC), Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC), Mississippi Library Commission (MLC), Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), and other entities as jointly determined by these partners and the Governor to be the Poet Laureate Panel, will assist in seeking nominations for the appointment by the Governor to the position of Mississippi Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate appointment is a honorary position and does not include a stipend. Mississippi Arts Commission Grants are available to non-profit organizations to compensate for up to half of the total fee of a presentation by the Poet Laureate.

A postmark deadline of December 11, 2015 has been determined for nominations to be received by the office of the Mississippi Arts Commission.

The Poet Laureate Panel is soliciting nominations from poets who meet the following criteria:

  • Either born or domiciled in Mississippi at the time of nomination;
  • Possess a body of quality works; (submit six samples of the nominees poetry)
  • Have works widely published in books, anthologies, literary journals or magazines by recognized, reputable publishers;
  • Reflect the essence and unique cultural heritage of Mississippi;
  • Be available for a personal interview with the Poet Laureate Panel;
  • Have (no more than three) letters of support from the general public and the literary community;
  • Be available to fulfill the duties of poet laureate, traveling and actively serving in the state.

Letters of nomination should address the criteria. Nominees must be able to perform the following duties of the State’s Poet Laureate. The Mississippi Poet Laureate’s role shall include but is not limited to the following:

  • To serve as the official state poet, creating and reading appropriate poetry upon state occasions and state agency activities
  • To represent the rich cultural heritage of Mississippi;
  • To help identify Mississippi poets, write poetry, and promote literacy and the literary arts by attending events and speaking with schools and organizations;
  • To serve as the honorary host of the NEA’s Poetry Out Loud initiative in Mississippi;
  • To serve as a Mississippi Arts Commission Teaching Artist.

The Governor shall name a Poet Laureate to serve a term of four years, commencing in 2016.

A complete nomination package should be mailed to the Mississippi Arts Commission via regular U.S. postal service. Postmark deadline: December 11, 2015. Each nomination will be reviewed for completeness. Incomplete nominations or those sent by email will not be considered.

Nomination Form: [PDF]

For questions about the program, please contact Poet Laureate Panel Chair Connie Souto Learman at 601-359-6035 or

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