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Current Laureate:
Jo Garot McDougall

Start of Term:
April 27, 2018

Position History:
Position established October 10, 1923, with the passing of concurrent resolutions by both houses of the Arkansas legislature. House Concurrent Resolution Number 17 (March 28, 1953) installed Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni as state poet laureate. Upon Marioni's death, Ercil Brown served as interim Laureate until Lily Peter's appointment on October 6, 1971. Peter was the first person designated poet laureate under Act 90 (passed February 15, 1971), which authorized the governor to appoint the poet laureate.1 The official position of Poet Laureate is codified in Sec. 1-4-114 of the Arkansas Code, the full text of which follows:

1-4-114. Poet laureate.

(a) The Governor is authorized to designate or appoint, by proclamation, a Poet Laureate of the State of Arkansas, which shall be an honorary title in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and contributions in poetry by a person who is a resident of the State of Arkansas.
(b) The person designated or appointed by the Governor as Poet Laureate of the State of Arkansas shall be a person whose name was selected from a list of names submitted to the Governor upon recommendation of a committee consisting of the principal heads of the English departments of all state-supported universities and colleges.

History. Acts 1971, No. 90, § 1; A.S.A. 1947, § 5-111.1

Previous Laureates:
Charles T. Davis (October 10, 1923-December 21, 1945)
Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni (March 28, 1953-March 1970)
Ercil Brown (interim appointee, March 1970-1971)
Lily Peter (1971-1991)
Verna Lee Hinegardner (1991-2003)
Peggy Vining (2003-Nov. 26, 2017)

Further Resources:
Entry on "Poets Laureate of Arkansas" from The Encycopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.


       1. Information about the position of Arkansas Poet Laureate from Susan L. Bailey's "Poet Laureate of Arkansas," The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, v. 59 (Spring 1990), 51-56.

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  July 9, 2018
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