For nearly 70 years, the Library of Congress has recognized the importance of poetry by naming a Poet Laureate of the United States. The position has existed under two separate titles: from 1937 to 1986 as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and from 1986 forward as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The name was changed by an act of Congress in 1985.
The current Poet Laureate is Donald Hall, who was chosen by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington this past June. Hall will take up his duties in the fall, opening the Library's annual literary series in October with a reading of his work. He will also be a featured speaker at the Library's National Book Festival Poetry Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 30, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. If you want to familiarize yourself with Hall's work, you can listen to Hall read his poem "Mount Kearsarge."