Montana Arts Council

An Agency of State Government

The Montana Poet Laureate recognizes and honors a citizen poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. The Poet Laureate also encourages appreciation of poetry and literary life in Montana. This position was created by the state legislature in 2005.

What is the Term of Service?

The term of service for Poet Laureate is two years. The award is honorific. A poet who has served as Poet Laureate may not be re-nominated.

Who is eligible to be nominated Poet Laureate of Montana?

Anyone of the state of Montana may nominate a poet for the Poet Laureate position. Nominations for Montana's Poet Laureate will be considered for poets who meet the following eligibility requirements:

The poet must currently reside in Montana and have been a resident for at least one year. Montana Arts Council members, staff, or their immediate family or household are not eligible.

What is the selection process for the Poet Laureate?

A panel drawn from members of the literary community select finalists from among the nominations. The finalists are submitted to the Montana Arts Council board for review and approval. The Poet Laureate of Montana is then chosen by the Governor from among these nominees during the summer.

What are the obligations of the Poet Laureate?

The position of Poet Laureate is an honorific one. Advancing and supporting the poetic arts involves reaching out to and beyond the art and literary communities in Montana to promote the appreciation of poetry as an ancient and ongoing form of expression.

Humanities Montana will invite the Poet Laureate to join its Speaker's Bureau program.

How will Poet Laureate nominations be evaluated?

The Poet Laureate is chosen on the basis of three criteria:

  • Artistic excellence and achievement

  • Ongoing contributions to the cultural community

  • Worthiness of statewide recognition


Montana Poet Laureate Guidelines

Montana's current Poets Laureate: Melissa Kwasny and M.L. Smoker

Past Montana Poets Laureate


Poem in top banner: "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg," by Richard Hugo

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