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Governor Laura Kelly Announces Poet Laureate Program Returns to Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission

Jul 01, 2021

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TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced the return of the Poet Laureate program to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC).

“Promoting the humanities preserves the legacy of the generations that came before us, inspires the artists of the future, and drives community and economic development,” Governor Kelly said. “KCAIC does great work in measuring, promoting, supporting, and expanding the arts to grow the state’s economy and generate creative industry-related jobs – and I know the Commission will be a good steward of the Poet Laureate program to continue that mission.”  

The Poet Laureate program is designed to encourage the appreciation of poetry in Kansas by making high quality poetry freely available to a wider audience. It recognizes a citizen poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment and designates them as the top poet representing the state.

The program is returning to KCAIC after having previously been housed within Humanities Kansas. KCAIC is part of the Community Development Division in the Kansas Department of Commerce.

“As the state’s leading agency in support of all creative disciplines, I’m very excited the Poet Laureate program is making its way back to KCAIC and Commerce,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “The arts are a vital part of economic development – they’re how we remind each other why we do the work we do to build our communities and our world. Sharing beauty and perspective with the people of Kansas is a fantastic way to ensure they’re happy to continue living and working in our state, and I’m very pleased that we are resurrecting this program at the Department of Commerce.”

“Kansas has a long and proud history of supporting poetry and producing great poets. Incorporating the Poet Laureate into our programming will allow us to highlight that legacy and build upon its success,” KCAIC Director Peter Jasso said.

To learn more about the Poet Laureate Program, visit the Poet Laureate page at the Department of Commerce website.

The current Poet Laureate of Kansas is Huascar Medina. Medina is a poet, writer, and performer based in Topeka. He currently works as a freelance copywriter and as the Literary Editor for seveneightfive magazine publishing stories that spotlight literary and artistic events in northeast Kansas.

The Poet Laureate program is free of charge to all Kansas non-profit organizations. If you are interested in hosting Huascar Medina as a speaker or presenter, please contact [email protected] for more information.