Public nominations are open now through March 18 for Missouri’s next Poet Laureate. The Missouri Poet Laureate fosters the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, and encourages the reading and writing of poetry across the state, enriching Missourians’ lives by sharing and promoting poetry through public appearances, readings, workshops, and digital and social media.

Starting July 1, the Missouri Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term. Poets must be Missouri residents and at least 25 years old as of Oct. 1. All nominations are welcome, including nominations by poets themselves. For complete guidelines and the online application form, see the Missouri Arts Council’s website,


The Missouri Poet Laureate Committee, composed of people throughout Missouri, will review all submitted nominations and recommend at least three semi-finalists to Governor Michael L. Parson, who makes the final decision. The Poet Laureate will be announced on July 1.


Governor Matt Blunt established the post of Missouri Poet Laureate in 2008. The current Missouri Poet Laureate is Aliki Barnstone, professor of English in the creative writing program at the University of Missouri–Columbia. She has served an extended term as Poet Laureate since 2016. 


The three previous Poet Laureates were Walter Bargen of Ashland from 2008 to 2010, David Clewell of St. Louis from 2010 to 2012, and William Trowbridge of Lee’s Summit from 2012 to 2016.


About the Missouri Arts Council

The Missouri Arts Council provides support to nonprofit organizations through grants that meet its strategic goals:


— Engage people in meaningful arts experiences

— Grow Missouri’s economy using the arts

— Strengthen Missouri education through the arts


The Missouri Arts Council awards grants to organizations to stimulate the growth, development, and appreciation of the arts in Missouri. This funding makes possible quality arts programming to communities throughout the state. In addition to financial assistance, the council provides expertise in community development, fundraising, marketing, grant writing, arts education, artistic disciplines —visual arts, music, literature, theater, dance, festivals, and film/media —  and more.