Monday, December 28, 2009

Search for Missouri's Next Poet Laureate

Governor Jay Nixon has signed an executive order establishing the procedure for selecting  Missouri’s second poet laureate. The new laureate, who will replace Walter Bargen is to be named in January.

Nixon has an advisory committee that includes three representatives from the Missouri Center for the Book and two individuals named by the Governor. This committee of five is charged with soliciting, publicizing and encouraging nominations for the post. They will develop additional selection criteria, [minimal criteria established by the executive order: resident of state, a published poet, active in the poetry community, be willing and able to promote poetry in the state throughout the two-year term], reviewing and evaluating the nominations, and recommending candidates for appointment to the Governor.

The committee is comprised of: Thomas F. Dillingham, Associate Professor of English at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri; Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of an independently owned bookstore in St. Louis; Carl Phillips, Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis; Kevin Prufer, author of a number of books of poetry and winner of three Pushcart prizes as well as an National Endowment of the Arts fellowship, from Warrensburg, Missouri; and Cheryl D.S. Walker, poet, lawyer and native of St. Louis.

I’m delighted to see the Governors approach to this appointment. Given this is nearly the end of December I would have hoped the committee would have had a little more time to give to the process. Those named to the panel appear to be reasonable choices for the search; I am however disappointed that the five member panel has a heavy St Louis tilt.

It would be nice to see at least one Kansas City area person on that panel.

A copy of the application for for consideration can be found here.
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