About Poet Laureate

Legislation passed in the 2007 session charged the Minnesota Humanities Center with creating a process for naming a poet laureate for the State of Minnesota. The following guidelines have been approved by Governor Pawlenty. Nominations were accepted Sept. 30, 2007 through Oct. 31, 2007.
Governor Pawlenty named Robert Bly the state's first official state poet laureate on Feb. 27, 2008. READ MORE

Work of Minnesota's Poet Laureate

  • The Poet Laureate is the primary spokesperson, supporter, and promoter of poetry in Minnesota. While the Laureate may read his or her own poetry, the Laureate should highlight and promote the poetry of others, past and present.
  • The Poet Laureate may work with teachers and their students throughout the State to promote the reading and writing of poetry.
  • The Poet Laureate may preside over poetry awards and contests.
  • The Poet Laureate may compose poetry or select poets to compose works for significant State occasions.

Term of Service

  • The Poet Laureate serves at the pleasure of the Governor of the State of Minnesota and until such time as the Governor names a new Poet Laureate.


  • The role of the Poet Laureate is honorary. The Minnesota Humanities Center will assist the Poet Laureate in his/her role of promoting awareness and enjoyment of poetry in Minnesota.

Nomination Criteria

  • Admirable and proven level of ability in writing poetry,
  • An admirable and proven history of having published individual poems and/or books of poetry,
  • Demonstrated excellence in promoting awareness and enjoyment of poetry in Minnesota,
  • Age 21 or older,
  • A resident of Minnesota for at least one year prior to being nominated.

Nominating Committee and Process

  • An 11-member committee representing a diverse mix of regions and literary groups served as a nominating committee, presenting three Commended Poets to Governor Pawlenty, though the Minnesota Humanities Center.


  • The Minnesota Humanities Center announced a statewide call for nominations for the position of Poet Laureate in September 2007.
  • Nominations were accepted Sept. 30, 2007 through Oct. 31, 2007.
  • The nominating Committee will do its work in October and November 2007
  • The Minnesota Humanities Center will convey the Nominating Committee's recommendations to the Governor in December 2007.
  • The Governor named the Poet Laureate in February 2008.
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