JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Public nominations for Missouri’s next Poet Laureate are open through Monday, April 3, 2023. The Missouri Poet Laureate program began in 2008 to foster the art of poetry, encourage literacy and learning, and encourage the reading and writing of poetry across the state. The Missouri Poet Laureate enriches Missourians’ lives by fostering the art of poetry statewide through public appearances, readings, workshops, and digital and social media. The Missouri Arts Council, a division of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, facilitates the Missouri Poet Laureate program on behalf of the Office of the Governor.

Starting July 1, 2023, the Missouri Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term. Poets must be Missouri residents and at least 25 years old as of July 1, 2023. All nominations are welcome, including nominations by poets themselves. Full details about how to nominate are on the Missouri Arts Council’s website at  

The Missouri Poet Laureate Committee, composed of Missourians from across the state, will review all nominations and then recommend finalists to Governor Michael L. Parson for his final decision. The Poet Laureate will be announced on July 1, 2023.

The current Missouri Poet Laureate, Maryfrances Wagner, of Independence, is a teacher, community arts leader, and author of 10 collections of poetry. Governor Parson appointed her as Poet Laureate beginning July 1, 2021. 

About the Missouri Arts Council

The Missouri Arts Council provides support to nonprofit organizations through grants that meet its strategic goals: 1) engage people in meaningful arts experiences, 2) grow Missouri’s economy using the arts, and 3) strengthen Missouri education through the arts. Missouri Arts Council funding makes quality arts programming possible in communities statewide. The Council also provides expertise in community development, fundraising, marketing, grant writing, arts education, and artistic disciplines (visual arts, music, literature, theater, dance, festivals, and film/media).

Established as a state agency in 1965, the Missouri Arts Council is a division of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The Council is funded through the Missouri General Assembly, Missouri Cultural Trust, and National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on the Missouri Arts Council, contactBarbara MacRobie, public information coordinator,, 314-340-6852,