The California Poet Laureate is a Governor's appointee whose mission is to advocate for the art of poetry in classrooms and boardrooms across the state, to inspire an emerging generation of literary artists, and to educate all Californians about the many poets and authors who have influenced our great state through creative literary expression.
Over the course of a two-year term, the Poet Laureate provides public readings in urban and rural locations across California, educates civic and state leaders about the value of poetry and creative expression, and undertakes a significant cultural project, with one of its goals being to bring poetry to students who might otherwise have little opportunity to be exposed.
The California Arts Council manages the nomination process for the California Poet Laureate as established by law. After a call to the general public for nominations, electronic applications are reviewed by a panel of knowledgeable and experienced California poets who are identified in consultation with representatives of literary organizations, universities, and other experts in the field.
The panelists review all applications and narrow the number to 15 - 25. Subsequently, the panelists meet in person, evaluate the top applications, and rank them according to the review criteria. The names of the top three applicants are sent to the Governor's office for additional vetting. The Governor makes the final selection and names the California Poet Laureate, who must be confirmed by the Senate.
Review criteria for Poet Laureate:
- recognized for excellence of their work;
- known for a significant body of published work;
- widely considered to be a poet of stature; and
- willing to undertake a specific project that shall last through the term, agreed to by the California Poet Laureate and the Arts Council.