The Governor named Colorado’s 8th poet laureate at the state capitol today. Bente Birkeland has more.
More on the announcement below:
DENVER – Tues., Sept. 9, 2014 – Governor John Hickenlooper today announced the appointment of Joseph Hutchison as Colorado’s new Poet Laureate. Hutchison is a Colorado native who lives in Indian Hills.
“Colorado’s Poet Laureate speaks to the exciting literary movement in Colorado and helps to keep poetry alive throughout the state,” said Gov. Hickenlooper. “His stunning works leave readers wanting more, and help to open up our storied past with new insights and new perspectives. Colorado is lucky to have such a talented poet in our midst, and we look forward to his upcoming contributions to the state.”
Colorado’s Poet Laureate serves a four-year term and acts as an active advocate for poetry, literacy and literature by participating in readings and other events at venues such as schools, libraries and literary festivals throughout the state. The Colorado Poet Laureate program is a partnership between Colorado Creative Industries and Colorado Humanities/Center for the Book. A panel reviews nominations and makes recommendations to the governor for final selection. The selection of Poet Laureate is based on artistic excellence, a demonstrated history of community service in the advancement of poetry, and the ability to present poetry effectively.
Hutchison graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. He has published eight chapter books and seven full-length poetry books as writer and two full-length books as editor. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Nation, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Poetry Now, Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), The Little Review, Yes Magazine and more.
Retiring Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason spoke about Hutchison’s recent book Marked Men: “Since the earliest times the poet has been our first historian, telling the stories that make us who were are. In Marked Men, Joseph Hutchison reminds us just how dark, how bloody the history of the ‘New World’ has been. But the longest of his three powerful poems is not just a story about the deep vein of hatred and prejudice leading to the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. It is also a portrait of decent resistance in the person of Silas Soule and his friend Ned Wynkoop. This book deepens and complicates our national story. It is written in blood and the fire of indignation.”
Colorado became one of the first states to have a Poet Laureate when Governor Oliver Shoup appointed Alice Polk Hill in 1919. Since then, five other people have served: Nellie Burget Miller (1923-1952); Margaret Clyde Robertson (1952-1954); Milford E. Shields (1954); Thomas Hornsby Ferril (1979-1988); Mary Crow (1996-2010) and David Mason (2010-present).