Governor’s office is seeking applications for Missouri’s poet laureate

JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today encouraged interested Missourians to submit applications to be considered for the next two-year term as poet laureate of Missouri. Webster University Professor of English David Clewell, of St. Louis, was selected by the Governor in 2010 for the current term as poet laureate.

“Missouri has a long tradition of poets and authors whose words have moved and inspired generations of people around the world,” Gov. Nixon said. “Through naming a poet laureate, we recognize how poetry has enriched our lives and hope to inspire the poets and authors of the future.”

The deadline to submit an application for poet laureate is Feb. 24, 2012. An application form that can be filled in online and then printed to mail in can be found at

An advisory committee, including three representatives of the Missouri Center for the Book and two members appointed by the Governor, is charged with reviewing and evaluating applications, and recommending appropriate candidates for appointment to the Governor. Members of the advisory committee must have expertise in contemporary American poetry and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The members of the advisory committee are:

n Dr. James Baumlin, a Professor of English at Missouri State University, who has published numerous books, essays and reviews;

n Dr. Adam Davis, a professor in the Classical and Modern Languages Department at Truman State University;

n Gabriel Fried, the author of two poetry collections and the poetry editor at Persea Books. He teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Missouri;

n Kris Kleindienst, a published author and columnist, and the owner of Left Bank Books, an independent bookstore with two locations in St. Louis; and

n Nola Ruth, the chair of the Missouri Arts Council, who served for 17 years as the director of the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies.

The individual selected as poet laureate will serve a two-year term and be expected to present and lecture on poetry to school, community and civic groups throughout the state.