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Poet Laureate

The Utah Poet Laureate is a Governor-appointed advocate for literature and the arts throughout the state who presents in communities, schools, libraries, and public events. The position was established in 1997.

Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee,  a hybrid-genre photo-text memoir entitled Intimate, and four books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope and Animal Eye, which was a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize, the Balcones Prize and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. Her newest book of poems is Imaginary Vessels, and a book-length essay, The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam is forthcoming in 2017. Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Residency, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, the 2016 AWP Nonfiction Prize, and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Tin House, the Best American Poetry series, and on National Public Radio, among others. She teaches at the University of Utah, where she is also the creator and editor of the community web project Mapping Salt Lake City.

Book the Poet Laureate

To request a reading or workshop by the Poet Laureate, please fill out the Poet Laureate appearance request form. Requests are honored based on the nature of the request and the availability of the Poet Laureate.

Paisley Rekdal’s Bite-Size Poem

Past Utah Poets Laureate

David Lee, St. George
Appointed by Gov. Michael Leavitt
January 1997 to January 2003

Kenneth W. Brewer, Logan
Appointed by Gov. Michael Leavitt
January 2003 to March 2006

Katharine Coles, Salt Lake City
Appointed by Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr.
March 2006 to April 2012

Lance Larsen, Springville
Appointed by Gov. Gary R. Herbert
April 2012 to April 2017