You may have heard of the term Poet Laureate but don’t know who the laureates are or what they do. The United States Library of Congress appoints a new Poet Laureate Consultant yearly. The appointee promotes poetry through education, conferences, or publications.
The first official laureate, Joseph Auslander was appointed in 1937. He was noted for his war poems. The current Poet Laureate is Juan Felipe Herrera a poet who also served as California’s Poet Laureate.
Currently, 45 of the states have poets who have been appointed to the position of State Poet Laureate. Here in Colorado, Alice Hill Polk was named to the position in 1919 and was well known for her Tales of the Colorado Pioneers. Milford Shields was Poet Laureate the longest, for 21 years.
Thomas Hornsby Ferril was a highly regarded local poet who held the positions from 1979-1988. Visit the Western History/Genealogy Department to view the Thomas Hornsby Ferril and Family papers (WH1195). Colorado’s most recent poet laureate is Joseph Hutchison who has published seven poetry books including Bed of Coals.
Find out who else was a poet laureate: