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Oklahoma


Lyric Poetry Mural, Lyric Poetry (detail), by Henry O. Walker, in the South Corridor, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress.
Photographic print.
[c.1899]

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.
Library of Congress.

Current Laureate:
Benjamin Myers

Start of Term:
February 11, 2015

Position History:
Position established June 21, 1923 (Statutes, 1995 Supplement, Sec. 98.4). Full text of law follows:

§25-98.4. State Poet Laureate.

      There is hereby designated the honorary position of State Poet Laureate. The State Poet Laureate shall be appointed by the Governor from lists provided by poetry societies and organizations and such person shall have this honorary position for a period of two (2) years. Each appointment shall be made by January 1 of every odd year beginning January 1, 1995. The person appointed to the honorary position of State Poet Laureate shall not be considered a state official or a state employee for such person's service in the honorary position of State Poet Laureate. The State Poet Laureate shall not be prohibited because of said appointed position from:
      1. Running for and being elected to any office in the state or a political subdivision of the state; or
      2. Being employed as a classified or unclassified employee of the state or a political subdivision of the state.

Added by Laws 1994, c. 53, § 1.

As noted on the Oklahoma Arts Council website, "The State Poet Laureate program is facilitated by the Oklahoma Arts Council on behalf of the governor. The Oklahoma Arts Council works with the State Poet Laureate to coordinate activities and appearances in communities throughout the state."

Previous Laureates:
Violet McDougal (1923-1930)
Paul Kroeger (1931-1940)
Jennie Harris Oliver (1940-1943)
Della I. Young (1943-1944)
Anne Ruth Semple (1944-1945)
Bess Truitt (1945-1946) (No other poets laureate were named until 1963, so she is generally considered the state's poet laureate until then.)
Delbert Davis (1963-1966)
Rudolph N. Hill (1966-1970)
Leslie A. McRill (1970-1977)
Maggie Culver Fry (1977-1995)
Carol Hamilton (1995-1997)
Betty Shipley (1997-1998)
Joe Kreger (1998-2001)
Carl Sennhenn (2001-2003)
Francine Ringold (2003-2007)
N. Scott Momaday (July 12, 2007-Jan. 1, 2009) (Official title: Oklahoma Centennial State Poet Laureate)
Jim Barnes (January 15, 2009- December 31, 2010)
Eddie Wilcoxen (January 2011-December 31, 2012)
Nathan Brown (January 2013-December 31, 2014)

Further Resources:

  • Publications by Benjamin Myers in the Library's online catalog.
  • Entry on "Poets Laureate" from the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
  • For a detailed history of the position, see Shawn Holliday's The Oklahoma Poets Laureate: A Sourcebook, History, and Anthology (Mongrel Empire Press, 2015)

 

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  February 25, 2015
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