A man in a hat is sitting on a bench and writing in a notebook.

Open Call for next State Poet of Rhode Island

Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts today announced the beginning of the process of naming the next State Poet of Rhode Island. This position, created by law by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1987, will be filled through a five-year appointment by Governor McKee, based in part on recommendations submitted by the State Arts Council.

“Through leadership and the power of poetry, our state’s poet provides inspiration to all Rhode Islanders in addition to being an important literary and educational resource,” said Governor McKee. “Thank you to Tina Cane for her service to Rhode Island and thank you to the State’s Arts Council for taking charge of the nomination process. I look forward to reviewing the nominees.”

“We expect to provide a diverse and strong field of recommendations to the Governor,” said Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA. “We are looking for a state poet who will build appreciation of and participation in poetry and literary activities among the state’s residents.”

The application deadline is August 21. For more information on the online application and selection process, click here.

While each Rhode Island State Poet leaves their own personal imprint on the program, duties typically include public activities and writing the inaugural poem for the Governor. Currently, the State Poet of Rhode Island is Tina Cane. She has focused her work on youth engagement, public art projects, and the Youth Poetry Ambassador program in collaboration with The Center for the Book. She was appointed to the post in 2016.

RI State Poets have been Michael Harper (1988-1994), the late C.D. Wright (1994-1999), Thomas Chandler (1999-2006), Lisa Starr (2007-2012), and Rick Benjamin (2013-2015), with Tina Cane (2016-present).

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