Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress


Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress

The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress is appointed by the United States Librarian of Congress and earns a stipend of $35,000 a year. Originally the title was "Consultant in Poetry", but that was changed in 1986 to be "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry". The idea was modeled on the Poet Laureate of England. These poets and their terms of service are given below.

According to the Library of Congress,

:"The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress serves as the nation's official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry."

The Poet Laureate is appointed annually by the Librarian of Congress and serves from October to May. In making the appointment, the Librarian consults with former appointees, the current Laureate and distinguished poetry critics. 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 Laureate receives a $35,000 annual stipend funded by a gift from Archer M. Huntington. The Library keeps to a minimum the specific duties in order to afford incumbents maximum freedom to work on their own projects while at the Library. The Laureate gives an annual lecture and reading of his or her poetry and usually introduces poets in the Library's annual poetry series, the oldest in the Washington area, and among the oldest in the United States. This annual series of public poetry and fiction readings, lectures, symposia, and occasional dramatic performances began in the 1940s. Collectively the Laureates have brought more than 2,000 poets and authors to the Library to read for the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature.

Each Laureate brings a different emphasis to the position. Joseph Brodsky initiated the idea of providing poetry in airports, supermarkets and hotel rooms. Maxine Kumin started a popular series of poetry workshops for women at the Library of Congress. Gwendolyn Brooks met with elementary school students to encourage them to write poetry. Rita Dove brought together writers to explore the African diaspora through the eyes of its artists. She also championed children's poetry and jazz with poetry events. Robert Hass organized the "Watershed" conference that brought together noted novelists, poets and storytellers to talk about writing, nature and community."

When Billy Collins was appointed to the position, a group of poets and critics associated with the POETICS list protested by voting for an anti-laureate. Anselm Hollo was elected to this position.

Poets who have held the Library of Congress poetry position, 1937 to present

Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
*2008–2009 Kay Ryan
*2007–2008 Charles Simic
*2006–2007 Donald Hall
*2004–2006 Ted Kooser
*2003–2004 Louise Glück
*2001–2003 Billy Collins
*2000–2001 Stanley Kunitz
*1999–2000 Special Bicentennial Consultants: Rita Dove, Louise Glück and W.S. Merwin
*1997–2000 Robert Pinsky
*1995–1997 Robert Hass
*1993–1995 Rita Dove
*1992–1993 Mona Van Duyn
*1991–1992 Joseph Brodsky
*1990–1991 Mark Strand
*1988–1990 Howard Nemerov
*1987–1988 Richard Wilbur
*1986–1987 Robert Penn Warren

Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (title of position prior to 1986)
*1985–1986 Gwendolyn Brooks
*1984–1985 Reed Whittemore (Interim Consultant in Poetry)
*1984–1985 Robert Fitzgerald (Appointed and served in a health-limited capacity, but did not come to LC)
*1982–1984 Anthony Hecht
*1981–1982 Maxine Kumin
*1978–1980 William Meredith
*1976–1978 Robert Hayden
*1974–1976 Stanley Kunitz
*1973–1974 Daniel Hoffman
*1971–1973 Josephine Jacobsen
*1970–1971 William Stafford
*1968–1970 William Jay Smith
*1966–1968 James Dickey
*1965–1966 Stephen Spender
*1964–1965 Reed Whittemore
*1963–1964 Howard Nemerov
*1961–1963 Louis Untermeyer
*1959–1961 Richard Eberhart
*1958–1959 Robert Frost
*1956–1958 Randall Jarrell
*1952 William Carlos Williams (appointed but did not serve)
*1950–1952 Conrad Aiken (First to serve two terms)
*1949–1950 Elizabeth Bishop
*1948–1949 Leonie Adams
*1947–1948 Robert Lowell
*1946–1947 Karl Shapiro
*1945–1946 Louise Bogan
*1944–1945 Robert Penn Warren
*1943–1944 Allen Tate
*1937–1941 Joseph Auslander

ee also

*American poetry
*List of poetry awards
*List of literature awards
*List of years in poetry
*List of years in literature

External links

* [http://www.loc.gov/poetry/laureate.html Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, on the Library of Congress web site]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=102258961270943761178.000436b9a55bfd6ff9897&z=3
]


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