Nominations for Mississippi’s Poet Laureate Open April 1

Published 11:26 am Monday, April 1, 2024

The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) and the Mississippi Poet Laureate Selection Panel, in partnership with Gov. Tate Reeves, will begin accepting nominations for the next Mississippi Poet Laureate Monday, April 1.

The Poet Laureate serves as the official state poet, creating and reading appropriate poetry on state occasions and state agency activities.

It also represents the rich and cultural heritage of Mississippi. Mississippi’s next Poet Laureate will succeed Catherine Pierce when her term expires at the end of 2024.

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“Serving as Mississippi’s poet laureate has been an honor and a gift,” Pierce said. “I’ve gotten to meet, talk with, and write alongside so many incredible people of all ages. I’ve had a blast visiting with communities across the state. I’ve loved sharing the work and insights of some of our many talented Mississippi poets through the Mississippi Poetry Podcast. And a highlight of my time in this position has been the opportunity to work with student poets through the Mississippi Poetry Project and the Mississippi Young Writers Poetry Festival. Although this coming year will be my last in this position, I’m looking forward to continuing to celebrate Mississippi’s rich poetic past, present, and future–and to welcoming our next state laureate.”

The Mississippi Poet Laureate is an honorary position. Among other qualifications, the selected individual must be living in the state at the time of nomination, possess a body of quality works, have work widely published in books, anthologies, literary journals or magazines by recognized, reputable publishers and be available to travel and actively serve in the state.

The Mississippi Poet Laureate is selected by the governor. Members of the Poet Laureate Selection Panel convene to review the submitted nominations and interview qualified nominees.

The panel submits its top three recommendations to the governor, who then selects the next Mississippi Poet Laureate.

The members of the Poet Laureate Selection Panel are as follows:

  • David Lewis, Mississippi Arts Commission;
  • A representative from the Mississippi Humanities Council;
  • A representative from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History;
  • A representative from the Mississippi Library Commission;
  • A representative from the University Press of Mississippi;
  • University Affiliated Poet; and,
  • Catherine Pierce, current Mississippi Poet Laureate.

The deadline to submit a nomination is June 30.

To learn more about Mississippi’s Poet Laureate, position eligibility and expectations as well as the nomination process, visit

Kristen Brandt, chair of the Poet Laureate Selection Panel, may be contacted at or (601) 359-6075 with questions about the nomination process.