You can find everything you need to submit below, but if you would rather have a conversation, please be in touch. We would love to talk to you. Contact Laura Benson, assistant director of grants and administration, at laura@mnhum.org .

Minnesota’s Poet Laureate

The Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) is named in state statute as the responsible organization to solicit nominations and applications for the Poet Laureate appointment and make recommendations to the Governor. After receiving recommendations from MHC, the Governor must appoint a state Poet Laureate and conduct appropriate ceremonies to honor the person appointed. The person appointed as Poet Laureate continues to serve in this position until the Governor appoints a new Poet Laureate.

Update: All submissions are welcome. After receiving gracious and insightful feedback about this open call, we are grateful for the opportunity to clarify our language and submission requirements to ensure an inclusive process. This call is for both self-nominations or applications, and nominations or recommendations of someone else.

Minnesota’s Poet Laureate, appointed by the Governor, will be awarded a $3,500 stipend per year from the Minnesota Humanities Center. This stipend honors the poet’s talent and contributions to activities associated with the expectations outlined below. MHC will reimburse reasonable travel expenses incurred by the Poet Laureate for the events noted below.

This stipend is not intended to replace expenses reimbursed by individual organizations where the Poet Laureate is a guest. Organizations inviting the Poet Laureate to perform and/or speak are encouraged to offer an honorarium to the Poet Laureate, and the Poet Laureate is encouraged to accept. Organizations should contact the Poet Laureate directly to book events.

General expectations of Minnesota’s Poet Laureate:

  • Promote and encourage appreciation of and engagement with poetry
  • Engage marginalized voices in poetry
  • Celebrate the state’s rich and vibrant cultural heritages
  • Engage young people within and across lived experiences
  • Inspire all generations of poets and readers
  • Champion poetry and spoken word across the state
  • Support children’s mental health and well-being and an inclusive state workplace

Specific activities of Minnesota’s Poet Laureate:

  • Elevate the state’s poets and authors – past and present – by attending and participating in events and activities hosted by others, including state events
  • Engage in a minimum of five public literary and other cultural events, virtually and/or around the state, in collaboration with a variety of partners including state arts councils, Minnesota Humanities Center, Governor’s Office, and state agencies

The Minnesota Humanities Center as sponsor will:

  • Provide updates and poetry from the Poet Laureate on our website, e-newsletters, and social media channels.
  • Host a launch meeting with Poet Laureate, the Governor’s Office, and other partners at the start of the Poet Laureate’s term to collaboratively outline the scope and scale of the first term.

To be eligible as Minnesota’s next Poet Laureate, an applicant or nominee must:

  • Be a current resident of Minnesota and continue to live in the state throughout the appointment
  • Have demonstrated a previous commitment to promoting awareness of poetry through public events and activities engaging a variety of audiences
  • Be able and willing to work statewide, including virtually or in person (once it is safe to do so)

Selection Process and Timeline

An independent review panel will assess all submissions for eligibility and alignment with expectations of the Poet Laureate and will determine a group of semi-finalists to be interviewed (via phone or virtually), and then will determine the short list of finalists to be recommended to the Governor’s office.

February 15-March 17 – Open call for Applications/Nominations
March 17- Deadline for Applications/Nominations
March 24-26 -First Round review
April 1-7 – Semi-finalist interviews
No Later Than April 13 – MHC sends short list of finalists to Governor’s Office

How to Submit

Complete applications/nominations, regardless of format, must include the following information for the applicant or nominee:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Contact Email, Contact Phone (if you are nominating someone else, please note that MHC will follow up with nominees/applicants directly and we do not track nominator information)
  4. Samples/excerpts of nominee/applicant’s best work (up to three samples, written, video, or audio – no more than 10 pages or 10 minutes in length total)
  5. Information that describes the public and community-centered activities of the nominee/applicant. This should be no more than 1-2 pages and can be in any format: a short bio, descriptive profile, a CV, a resume, etc.

Ready to submit? Share the required information in one of the following formats:

  • Online form: Submit through our online form
  • Email: Send to submissions@mnhum.org (preferred file type: Word or PDF)
  • Postal mail: Postmark by the deadline to:

    Minnesota Humanities Center
    c/o Poet Laureate
    987 Ivy Avenue East
    Saint Paul, Minnesota 55106

If you would rather submit in a different way, we’re happy to work with you on a method that works for you. If you have questions or would like to submit in a way not mentioned above, contact Laura Benson, assistant director of grants and administration, at laura@mnhum.org.

FAQs

How are you defining poetry?
Poetry can be defined in so many ways depending on who you ask, so we will not be specifically prescribing a definition. For example, it could be written or performed or spoken to share ideas, express emotions, and create imagery, and more. We hope potential applicants and nominators/nominees will think broadly about what poetry does and could mean.

Does a applicant/nominee have to have published work in order to be considered?
No, having published work is not an eligibility requirement.

Does it make a difference to the panel if I apply or if someone nominates me?
The origin of the application/nomination will not weigh into the panel decision. MHC and the panel welcome self-nominations or applications as well as nominations or recommendations.

If I have multiple nominations, does that increase my chances of moving forward in the process?
It will not affect the process. Submissions are being assessed against eligibility criteria and alignment with the stated expectations of the Poet Laureate. Multiple submissions will not weigh into panel decisions.

Will the Poet Laureate be a paid appointment?
Minnesota’s Poet Laureate, appointed by the Governor, will be awarded a $3,500 stipend per year from the Minnesota Humanities Center. This stipend honors the poet’s talent and contributions to activities associated with the expectations outlined below. MHC will reimburse reasonable travel expenses incurred by the Poet Laureate for the events noted below.

This stipend is not intended to replace expenses reimbursed by individual organizations where the Poet Laureate is a guest. Organizations inviting the Poet Laureate to perform and/or speak are encouraged to offer an honorarium to the Poet Laureate, and the Poet Laureate is encouraged to accept. Organizations should contact the Poet Laureate directly to book events.