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Seeking nominations for Maryland’s next Poet Laureate and applications for the selection committee!


The Poet Laureate of Maryland is an honorary position established by the Maryland General Assembly. A citizen poet is selected and serves at the discretion of the Governor for up to a four-year term renewable by the Governor’s consent. Ten Poet Laureates have served since the position’s inception in 1959, including (in order of service): Maria B. Coker, Vincent Godfrey Burns, Lucille Clifton, Reed Whittemore, Linda Pastan, Roland Flint, Michael Collier, Michael Glaser, Stanley Plumly, and Grace Cavalieri. 

In 2023, MSAC is facilitating a selection process to make recommendations for the Governor’s selection of Maryland's next Poet Laureate. The person selected will undertake projects that make poetry more available and accessible to citizens of Maryland of all ages and perform public readings, ensuring that people in all geographic regions of the State have access to at least one reading during the term of service. Poets Laureate are expected to seize this opportunity to expand their artistry while bridging the gap generationally and culturally through poetry. As an honorary position, the Poet Laureate will not receive compensation, though limited reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of duties is available. Poets of all types are encouraged to apply.


The Poet Laureate must:

  • be a one-year legal resident of the State; 
  • available and able to travel throughout the State; 
  • demonstrate a proven history of the substantial publication of individual poems and/or books, or have a substantial history of public spoken word performances; 
  • demonstrate a commitment to and passion for poetry and embrace the opportunity to engage proactively in community service to make poetry more accessible and available to residents. 


Nominees must meet eligibility and submit an application that includes:  

  • poet’s statement; 
  • a one-page resume; 
  • a sample of five poems (must include publication and one 2-5 minutes video performance entry via YouTube or Vimeo link); and 
  • up to two letters of recommendation.

Poet Laureate nominations may come from any organization or individual in the State of Maryland. Self-nominations are acceptable. Only complete applications will be reviewed. 

Nominate here!

Nominations are due Friday, May 12, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. 


A diverse committee of qualified individuals who represent various arts and humanities communities throughout the state will convene to review nominations for the position of Poet Laureate of Maryland.  The Committee will forward their recommendation to the Governor for final review and appointment.

Members of the Selection Committee will be required to attend a one-day virtual meeting which will take place in May or June. Selection members will also be responsible for reviewing nomination information in advance of this meeting. 

This opportunity is open to residents of Maryland. 

What We’re Looking For:

  •  5-8 Maryland residents 
  • Individuals with a demonstrated knowledge of and passion for arts and humanities 
  • Diversity of experience and geographic representation among the committee members
  • Availability to review applications May-June  2023

What to Expect as a Committee Member:

  • Independent review of applications submitted by artists with a diverse range of practice and varying experience levels in arts sciences & humanities
  • Attending a required virtual meeting in May or June 2023 
  • Attending committee check-ins as needed
  • Provide thoughtful feedback, framed as recommendations, in alignment with the eligibility criteria
  • Committee members will be compensated for their time, including training, check-ins, and time spent reviewing and writing feedback.
Apply here!

Selection Committee Applications are due Friday, May 12, 2023,

at 11:59 p.m. 

For any questions please contact Keyonna Penick at keyonna.penick1@maryland.gov.

The Maryland State Arts Council is committed to making sure all Marylanders can access its programs and services. For grant application assistance, please contact the appropriate Program Director. Guests with further accessibility questions or who require accommodations may fill out the Accommodations Request Form or contact the MSAC Office Secretary at msac.commerce@maryland.govIf you have questions about the SmartSimple application system, please contact Grants Director Cathy Teixeira at catherine.teixeira@maryland.gov.

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