Applications open for Kansas’ next Poet Laureate

FILE - Medina is one of more than 50 authors featured at the Kansas Book Festival.
FILE - Medina is one of more than 50 authors featured at the Kansas Book Festival.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 1:27 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The search is on for the Sunflower State’s next Poet Laureate.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Thursday, Aug. 4, the applications have opened for the next Poet Laureate of Kansas. She said the position is honorary and mean to promote reading and writing poetry throughout the Sunflower State.

Gov. Kelly noted that the Kanas Poet Laureate is sponsored by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. She said the current title holder is Huascar Medina, a poet, writer and performer based in Topeka.

“By preserving the legacy of the generations that came before us, inspiring artists of the future, and driving community and economic development, the Kansas Poet Laureate program is a shining example of the value of supporting local and statewide arts,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “I encourage poets across the state to apply to be the eighth Poet Laureate of Kansas.”

Kelly indicated that the Kansas Poet Laureate will serve a 4-year term starting Jan. 1, 2023, and will contribute to the growth and awareness of poetry through presentations of their own work and the work of others at public events, and readings, workshops and lectures throughout the Sunflower State.

“The arts help bring our communities together with stories and experiences that highlight our uniqueness, talents and gifts,” said Lieutenant Governor David Toland. “It has been great to see the return of the Poet Laureate program through the talents of current Poet Laureate Huascar Medina and I’m excited to see this program continue to grow.”

Kelly said medina has been busy presenting his program, May Our Voices Ring True, across Kansas since the program returned to KCAIC in 2021. He now works as a freelance copywriter and as the Literary Editor for seveneightfive magazine publishing stories that spotlight literary and artistic events in Northeast Kansas.

In the fall of 2021, Kelly said Medina was confirmed as a member of the National Council on the Arts.

“It has been an honor to serve as the seventh Poet Laureate of Kansas,” Medina said. “With each new laureate, the Poet Laureate of Kansas program grows in purpose, status and function. We have a strong legacy of words in Kansas, and that tradition will continue with the eighth Poet Laureate. To the next Kansas Poet Laureate, I say: May you find the words and may your words find others.”

Beyond sharing poetry across the state, the Governor noted that the Poet Laureate participates in the annual Poetry Out Loud competition for high school students and helps strengthen and expand the literary arts ecosystem in the Sunflower State. Using the Poet Laureate programming is free to all non-profit organizations in Kansas.

To be considered, Kelly indicated that applicants are required to submit a complete application by Tuesday, Sept. 6. The selection committee will then review the applications and select semi-finalists who will then be required to give a public presentation. The new Poet Laureate will be announced in October.

For more information about the Poet Laureate program, click HERE.

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