Jennifer Militello

Jennifer Militello was appointed by the Executive Council as New Hampshire Poet Laureate on March 13, 2024. Ms. Militello began her 5-year term in April, 2024.  The state’s poet laureate serves as an ambassador for all poets in New Hampshire and works to heighten the visibility and value of poetry in the state.

Jennifer Militello holds a MFA in Poetry from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in Bath, England.

Jennifer brings to the position of poet laureate  over twenty-five years’ experience in teaching English, Creative Writing, and Poetry, and  is currently director and faculty member in the MFA program at New England College in Henniker, NH.  She has directed and coordinated many creative writing programs and series across NH, and is founding director of the New Hampshire Poetry Festival.  She is committed to providing more access and inclusion to poets across the state and the broader community.

Jennifer is the author of six books, including five books of poetry and a memoir in essays: The Pact (Tupelo Press/Shearsman Books, 2021), A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo Press, 2016), finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the Sheila Margaret Motton Prize, Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), named one of the top books of 2013 by Best American Poetry and runner-up for the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, Flinch of Song, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award, the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail, and Knock Wood: A Memoir in Essays (Dzanc Books, 2019), winner of the Dzanc Nonfiction Prize.  Her poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, POETRY, Poetry London, The Poetry Review, and Tin House, and been anthologized in Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion, and 100 Poems to Save the Earth.

She has been awarded the Barbara Bradley Award, the Yeats Poetry Prize, the Ruskin Art Club Poetry Award, the Betty Gabehart Prize, and the 49th Parallel Award, and grants and fellowships from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Writers at Work, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

As state poet laureate, Jennifer’s vision is to use what she refers to as “the renewed energy of people eager to gather, to celebrate the arts, to love the written word, after a period of difficulty, darkness, and grief,” in a way that centers around New Hampshire’s rich literary history.  She plans to “restore New Hampshire’s Poetry festival to its former status as perhaps the single largest celebration of poetry in the state, a gathering that provided broad access and emphasized inclusion of writers of colors as well as the LGBTQ+ community.”  Another goal is to “initiate a comprehensive project to connect K-12 teachers of  English literature and writing across the state and provide a network of resources and programs to  help them bring poetry alive for their students.” Jennifer plans to “build a parallel network for young  people seeking to nurture their interest in poetry, as well as continuing to support poets from  underrepresented populations and provide a safe space for those who most need a voice. Increasing  the visibility surrounding April’s National Poetry Month programs would be part of this plan.”

For more information about Jennifer, her work, and upcoming events, visit https://jennifermilitello.com/

In an interview for New Hampshire Public Radio’s All Things Considered in 2019, Jennifer told Peter Biello: “One of the things that I feel really strongly about is my relationship to New Hampshire as a state that is directly related to my writing from the time I was a child. I’ve wanted to live here.” When asked why she wanted to live here, she responded: “I’ve always associated it with writers and writing partially because it’s a more rural state. And I’ve always imagined I could hide away and get a lot of work done. New Hampshire has a really rich literary tradition and I’ve always been very much aware of that. Robert Frost’s poems were really dear to me when I was young, and I always imagined myself in the woods in New Hampshire writing poems when I was a child.”