Poet Laureate Nomination Guidelines

The Saint Louis Poet Laureate will promote the art of poetry and encourage literacy and learning throughout the Saint Louis region.


In 2014, the Saint Louis Board of Aldermen passed Ordinance 69879, introduced by President Lewis Reed, which established the position of Saint Louis Poet Laureate. The Saint Louis Poet Laureate will promote the art of poetry and encourage literacy and learning throughout the St. Louis region. The St. Louis Poet Laureate will be expected to share a literary theme for their two-year term and engage a variety of constituencies, enriching the lives of residents by sharing and promoting poetry through public appearances, readings, workshops, and digital and social media.

Nomination Deadline

Nomination Period -  6/18/2018 - 7/20/2018

Term of Service

The Saint Louis Poet Laureate shall serve a two-year term. The next Saint Louis Poet Laureate's term will be announced.

The 2018-2020 Saint Louis Poet Laureate's term shall begin on June 1, 2018, and end on May 31, 2020.

Who May Apply

The Saint Louis Poet Laureate Task Force encourages all eligible candidates to self-nominate and for other members of the public to nominate eligible candidates.  Poets of all subgenres and styles will be considered.

Nomination Guidelines

All Saint Louis Poet Laureate nominees must:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age at the time of nomination
  • Have been a Saint Louis City or County resident for at least 3 years prior to the nomination deadline and remain a resident throughout the two-year term
  • Must be committed to bringing poetry to a wide range of places and people
  • Must be able and available to reach Saint Louis audiences through travel or other means
  • Provide evidence of achievement in the art of poetry, including having a body of publicly accessible work (books, literary magazines, and/or digital media)
  • Must be prepared to undertake the public role required of the laureate

Nomination Requirements

The following four items are required as part of each nomination:

  1. A completed nomination form via the online nomination process.  The online form will include:  

(a) contact information for the nominator and the nominated poet, including mailing address, phone numbers and e-mail address, and

(b) if the nomination is not by the poet, a statement verifying that the nominator has contacted the nominated poet and that the poet has reviewed the expectations of the position and agrees to the nomination.  

  1. Biographical sketch, résumé or curriculum vitae, not to exceed one page, which includes any special honors, awards, fellowships, or other recognition.
  2. The submission should consist of a work sample (published or unpublished) of up to 3 poems, not to exceed 5 pages, with no more than one poem per page. The work sample may be written or audio. If written work, the sample must include a cover sheet with name and a list of poetry titles and content. The work sample may contain information that indicates where the poem has been published or performed or if it has received any awards for merit.  The poems submitted should be of the highest quality and can be from any time period.
  3. If you submit an audio work sample of up to 3 poems instead of a written one, you may also submit a transcript of the poem(s) performed, not to exceed 5 pages as stated above.
  4. A narrative, not to exceed two (2) pages, describing

(a) why the nominee wishes to be considered,

(b) what the nominee would hope to accomplish during the two years as the Saint Louis Poet Laureate, and

(c) the theme to be explored during the initial year of service and ideas for any special projects related to the position.  

*Please note that the items specified in Sections 2, 3 and 4 above must be in 12-point font, with 1" margins on all sides, and formatted to fit 8 1/2" x 11" paper (no photocopies from publications will be accepted).

Recommendation letters are not appropriate and will not be considered.

Failure to provide all required materials results in automatic ineligibility.

How to Submit a Nomination

All nominations, including self-nominations, should be submitted via the online application form at http://www.stlouis-mo.gov/poet/  by 5 p.m. on the submission deadline.  

Online submissions are strongly encouraged and preferred, but in the event you are unable to submit electronically, please forward 7 copies (or one flash drive) of your submission to:

Office of the President
Poet Laureate Task Force

Room 230, City Hall

1200 Market Street

Saint Louis, Missouri 63101



A poet who has been nominated before may be re-nominated through this process.


  • Previous State of Missouri Poets Laureate
  • Previous St. Louis Poets Laureate

Selection Criteria

  • Have a prior record of high quality, published or documented work
  • Ability and willingness to conduct the public engagement duties of the office
  • Demonstration of excellence in their artistic work
  • Capacity to foster public appreciation of and participation in poetry through readings, public presentations and/or teaching in diverse communities
  • Ability to advance poetry in the Saint Louis region as evidenced by an established history of activity in Saint Louis’ literary community through readings, publications, public presentations and/or teaching
  • Agree to the conditions and term of appointment

Selection Process

  1. The Saint Louis Poet Laureate Task Force, as seated by President Lewis Reed, will review all submitted nominations and select at least three (3) semi-finalists.
  2. Each semi-finalist will be interviewed in person by the Saint Louis Poet Laureate Task Force, which will make a recommendation to President Lewis Reed
  3. The Saint Louis Poet Laureate Task Force will select the Saint Louis Poet Laureate, subject to approval by President Lewis Reed and the Saint Louis Board of Alderman
  4. The Saint Louis Poet Laureate will be notified when President Reed approves the selection to bring before the Board of Alderman.
  5. President Lewis Reed will announce the Saint Louis Poet Laureate

Expectations of the Position

The Saint Louis Poet Laureate is expected to:

  • Celebrate the written and spoken poetic voices of Saint Louis residents by using the appointment as a platform from which to illuminate not only his, her or their own work, but also the work of other writers in the Saint Louis region
  • Contribute to the growth, access and awareness of poetry throughout the Saint Louis region
  • Encourage both the reading and writing of literature
  • Use the art of poetry to enlighten, educate, entertain, transform and inspire established and emerging generations of literary artists and readers of literature
  • Participate in at least 4 literary events and 4 educational programs in schools in the region
  • Promote poetry and the Saint Louis Poet Laureate position via official social media accounts
  • Prepare and provide a written report of activities every six months to the Saint Louis Poet Laureate Task Force
  • Create a substantial new work commemorating the City of Saint Louis through works that speak to, for and of our region
  • Collaborate with other city and state poets laureate (including the St. Louis Youth poet laureate and the state poet laureate) when possible

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