Governor Laura Kelly Announces New Kansas Poet Laureate

~~K-State Professor Traci Brimhall will Begin Service as Kansas Poet Laureate in 2023~~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) has selected Traci Brimhall as the 2023-2026 Poet Laureate of Kansas. Brimhall, a professor and Director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University, will become the state’s eighth Poet Laureate when her four-year term begins on January 1. 

“Supporting and celebrating poetry is essential to preserving our state’s rich history for future generations,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “That’s why I’m glad Traci will be our next Kansas Poet Laureate. Her passion and introspection make her the perfect advocate for poetry and the arts.”  

The Poet Laureate of Kansas is an honorary position of the KCAIC that promotes the arts, especially the reading and writing of poetry, for all Kansans. The program was established in 2004. 

As the new Poet Laureate of Kansas, Brimhall will conduct public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations that serve communities across the state. Her plans for the laureateship will focus on connecting with Kansans through the shared experience of language, Kansas’ agricultural roots, and food. 

“I am delighted to serve Kansas as the next Poet Laureate,” Professor Traci Brimhall said. “I love connecting with others and building community, and I can’t wait for the next few years of celebrating creativity in the Sunflower State.” 

“The arts not only mold the quality of life in Kansas communities but color the palette of both local and state economies,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Traci Brimhall’s exceptional talent and her willingness to share it with the people of Kansas is a wonderful gift.” 

Brimhall is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod (Copper Canyon Press). Her poems have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Poetry, Orion, and Best American Poetry. She received the 2013 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry, among numerous other awards. 

“The KCAIC is excited by Traci’s passion for poetry as a way to strengthen Kansans’ connections with each other,” said KCAIC Interim Director Kate Van Steenhuyse. “Through celebrating the diversity and bounty of our beautiful state, she will promote poetry as a vehicle for nourishment and engagement.” 

The Poet Laureate is expected to contribute to the growth and awareness of poetry throughout the state, present at public events, participate in the annual Poetry Out Loud competition for high school students, and assist Department of Commerce staff with strengthening and expanding the literary arts ecosystem in Kansas.  

The Poet Laureate programming is free of charge to all Kansas non-profit organizations. To learn more about the Poet Laureate Program, visit the Poet Laureate page on the Department of Commerce website.  

A photo of Traci Brimhall for media use is available here