Utah initiated its Poet Laureate program in 1997. The Poet Laureate is a Governor-appointed advocate for literature and the arts throughout the state. The Poet Laureate is available for readings at public events and in venues including libraries, universities, schools, etc.
- Download the Poet Laureate Selection Process
Utah’s Poet Laureate – Lance Larsen
Lance Larsen’s fourth collection of poems, Genius Loci, was recently published by University of Tampa Press. His earlier collections include Backyard Alchemy (2009), In All Their Animal Brilliance (2005), and Erasable Walls (1998). He holds a PhD from the University of Houston. His work appears widely, in such venues as Georgia Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, River Styx, Orion, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Best American Poetry 2009, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. His nonfiction has twice made the Notable Essay list in Best American Essays. He is currently working on Seventeen Ways to Float, a collection of essays about place, family, and memory which won 1st place in the 2011 Utah Original Writing Competition. He grew up in Idaho and Colorado and lived in Chile for two years while serving an LDS mission. He collects antiques, plays basketball, occasionally walks on his hands, grows daylilies, hikes, and loves Indian and Thai food. He sometimes collaborates with his wife, Jacqui Biggs Larsen, a painter and multi-media artist. Since 1993 he has taught literature and creative writing at BYU, where he currently serves as associate chair. He and Jacqui recently directed a study abroad program in Madrid. In 2012, he was named to a five-year term as Utah Poet Laureate.
Bite Size Poet for December 2009: “Some Minutes” by Lance Larsen
To request a reading or attendance at an event as State Poet Laureate, please submit the appearance request form via email to Jean Tokuda Irwin or fax to 801.533.4202. Requests are honored based on the nature of the request and the availability of the Poet Laureate.