Established by the state legislature in 1967, New Hampshire’s poet laureate is an honorary five-year position held by an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of poetry. The poet is appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, from a list submitted by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire.
Nominations for the position of Poet Laureate are received from across the state and reviewed by a committee comprised of representatives from the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, as well as other select members from the New Hampshire literary community.
Although there are no specified duties, the Poet Laureate is an ambassador for all poets in NH and works to heighten the visibility and value of poetry in our state. Beginning in 2013, private contributions made to the Walter Butts’ New Hampshire Poet Laureate Fund, created in memory of the former New Hampshire Poet Laureate and coordinated through the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, are providing a modest annual honorarium to help the New Hampshire Poet Laureate achieve his or her stated mission.