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Arts Council accepting application for Kentucky’s next poet laureate; two year term begins in 2019

The Kentucky Arts Council is accepting nominations for Kentucky Poet Laureate. The next poet laureate will serve for two years starting in 2019, succeeding current Kentucky Poet Laureate Frederick Smock, who has served since 2017.

The state poet laureate is appointed biennially by the Governor to promote the literary arts in Kentucky through readings and public presentations at meetings, seminars, conferences and events, including Kentucky Writers’ Day.

The arts council coordinates the nomination and selection process for recommendation to the governor.

“Kentucky Poet Laureate is the most distinguished state honor given to Kentucky writers, and the poet laureate will represent the Commonwealth as our literary ambassador,” said Chris Cathers, arts council interim executive director. “Kentucky has a strong community of writers, and we encourage individuals and organizations to take part in the nomination process.”

Writers accomplished in any of the recognized literary forms, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction (including critical essays, literary criticism, biography, memoir, travel writing or other writing that applies literary skills and methods to nonfiction), playwriting and screenwriting, and who are full-time Kentucky residents with a long association with the Commonwealth qualify for nomination.

Guidelines and nomination forms are online at the arts council website. Nominations will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 1, and may be made by an individual or organization in Kentucky or elsewhere.

Past Kentucky poets laureate appointed by governors are George Ella Lyon (2015-16), Frank X Walker (2013-14), Maureen Morehead (2011-12), Gurney Norman (2009-10), Sena Jeter Naslund (2005-06), Joe Survant (2003-04), the late James Baker Hall (2001-02), Richard Taylor (1999-2000), the late Jane Gentry Vance (2007-08), the late Joy Bale Boone (1997-98) and the late James Still (1995-96).

The next poet laureate will be inducted at the 2019 Kentucky Writers’ Day ceremony.

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