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Current Laureate:
Joyce Sutphen

Start of Term:
August 23, 2011

Position History:
Margaret Ball Dickson was named poet laureate of Minnesota by the Poet Laureate League, Washington, D.C., in 1934. Her appointment was recognized by the governor in a letter to Mrs. Dickson. Laurene Tibbetts-Larson was chosen unofficially by an election announced in the media in 1973. She was appointed May 14, 1974, by columnist Abe Altrowitz, and designated Minnesota Commissioner of Poetry by the governor. Legislation introduced on February 19, 1974, to make the position of poet laureate official was not passed. A bill introduced April 1, 2004 to create the position also did not pass, and a more recent bill introduced February 4, 2005, was vetoed by Governor Tim Pawlenty, who noted in a letter acccompanying the veto that:

"Even though we have a state 'folklorist,' I also have concern this will lead to calls for other similar positions. We could also see requests for a state mime, interpretive dancer or potter."

In May 2007, Gov. Pawlenty reversed his decision in deference to the legislature's expressed desire for a Minnesota poet laureate. Section 4, Chapter 148 of the Minnesota Session Laws 2007, signed by Pawlenty on May 25, established the official position of state poet laureate. Robert Bly was appointed the first official Minnesota poet laureate February 27, 2008.

Previous Laureates:
Margarette Ball Dickson (1934-July 21, 1963)
Laurene Tibbetts-Larson (May 14, 1974-December 6, 1999)
Robert Bly (February 27, 2008-August 22, 2011)

Further Resources:

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  February 23, 2018
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