(COLORADO) — Nominations for the next Colorado Poet Laureate, who will serve a four year term beginning in July, are open through February 1, 2023.

The Poet Laureate position was created to promote an appreciation of poetry in Colorado, to honor outstanding Colorado poets, and to serve as an active advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature by participating in readings and other events at schools, libraries, literary festivals, and the State Capitol.

The Poet Laureate will also provide the Governor with an annual account of the impact and success of the Colorado Poet Laureate program. Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book and Colorado Creative Industries will annually supply the Poet Laureate with a $5,000 honoraria and up to $5,000 to cover public presentation travel expenses.

The selection of the Poet Laureate will be based on artistic excellence, a demonstrated history of community service in the advancement of poetry, and the ability to present poetry effectively. A panel of former laureates and poetry leaders will review nominations and make recommendations to the Governor, who will make the final selection.

Any organization or individual can nominate a poet for consideration. Nominators should work closely with their nominees to submit the nomination form and information requested. Self-nomination is also an option.

The Colorado Poet Laureate must be a legal, full-time Colorado resident for at least three years prior to the nomination deadline. In addition, the Poet Laureate must remain a resident of Colorado during the term of office and pass a standard background check.

Nominations must be submitted no later than February 1, 2023 to Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book via Submittable, which you can find here.

Colorado became one of the first states to have a Poet Laureate when Governor Oliver Shoup appointed Alice Polk Hill in 1919. Since then, eight additional Coloradans have served:

  • Nellie Burget Miller (1923-1952)
  • Margaret Clyde Robertson (1952-1954)
  • Milford E. Shields (1954)
  • Thomas Hornsby Ferril (1979-1988)
  • Mary Crow (1996-2010)
  • David Mason (2010-2014)
  • Joseph Hutchison (2014-2019)
  • Bobby LeFebre (2019-Present)

To learn more about the Poet Laureate’s history and role in the literary life of the state, head to coloradohumanities.org.