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State Historical Society of Iowa

Nominations for Iowa's Next Poet Laureate Accepted Through July 1

May 4, 2018

DES MOINES – Nominations for Iowa's next poet laureate are open now through July 1.

Appointed by the governor and supported by the Iowa Arts Council and Humanities Iowa, the Iowa Poet Laureate serves an honorary two-year renewable term, participates in literary events, and promotes the revelatory power of poetry in Iowans’ everyday lives.

“It is important that we celebrate authentic Iowa voices,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said. “By honoring the Iowa Poet Laureate, we recognize those individuals who have demonstrated how important the written word can be.”

Reynolds plans to appoint the next Iowa Poet Laureate from a list of three nominees chosen by a volunteer committee created by the Iowa Arts Council and Humanities Iowa. In the selection process, the committee will consider poets whose work is of the highest caliber and speaks to the diverse voices of the people and poetry of Iowa. The committee members include:

  • Dean Bakopoulos is a novelist and screenwriter who has taught fiction and creative writing at Grinnell College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University and Warren Wilson College.
  • George Barlow is a University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop graduate who is a professor of English and American studies at Grinnell College. He has twice served on the Iowa Poet Laureate nomination committee.
  • Yvette Zaród Hermann has been the Poetry Out Loud coordinator in Iowa since 2006 and has 13 years of arts-integrated teaching experience in central Iowa. She currently serves as the program director for ArtForceIowa in Des Moines.
  • Kathranne Knight is a poetry publisher and visual artist whose works have been shown in galleries and museum across the country. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Chinati Foundation and an Iowa Artist Fellow.
  • Neil Nakadate is a professor emeritus at Iowa State University where he taught American literature, contemporary fiction, U.S. multicultural literature and rhetoric and writing. He also is the author of seven books.
  • Rachel Yoder is a current Iowa Artist Fellow and the founding editor of draft: the journal of process. She currently explores creative writing through The Fail Safe interview podcast and serves as a board member for the UNESCO City of Literature.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of another individual or may be submitted as a self-nomination. Online nominations must be submitted via the Iowa Poet Laureate Nomination Form. Hard-copy nomination forms may be requested by calling Humanities Iowa at 319-335-4149 and mailed to Humanities Iowa, 100 LIB RM 4039, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242.

The first Iowa Poet Laureate was Iowa Writers’ Workshop professor Marvin Bell, who served two terms beginning in 2000. The following two poets laureate were Robert Dana, a former World War II radio operator who taught for 40 years at Cornell College, and Mary Swander, a professor emerita of English at Iowa State University.

The Iowa Arts Council is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Humanities Iowa is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.