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Who Are the United States Poet Laureate Consultants in Poetry?

Who are the United States Poet Laureate Consultants in Poetry? Who appoints the poets laureate? What are their duties? Learn the answers to these questions and more here.

Congratulations to Ada Limón, who was named the 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a fancy name for the next U.S. Poet Laureate)! It's well deserved and an incredible addition to the post.

In fact, you can listen to her explain it herself on her podcast The Slowdown (episode 716).

Who Are the United States Poet Laureate Consultants in Poetry?

What Is the United States Poet Laureate?

The United States Poet Laureate is the common name given to a post with the official title of Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. The poet laureate is appointed by the librarian of the United States Congress and serves from October to May, though it's not uncommon for a poet laureate to serve multiple terms.

Their main responsibilities involve giving a lecture and reading of their work and introducing poets at the Library of Congress' poetry series, but many poets laureate use the post to promote poetry in different ways throughout the country. 

The post does come with an annual stipend of $35,000.

Who Are the United States Poet Laureate Consultants in Poetry?

The title of Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry was created by an act of Congress on December 20, 1985. The post was previously titled Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

Here are the United States Poet Laureate Consultants in Poetry:

  1. 1986-1987: Robert Penn Warren
  2. 1987-1988: Richard Wilbur
  3. 1988-1990: Howard Nemerov
  4. 1990-1991: Mark Strand
  5. 1991-1992: Joseph Brodsky
  6. 1992-1993: Mona Van Duyn
  7. 1993-1995: Rita Dove
  8. 1995-1997: Robert Hass
  9. 1997-2000: Robert Pinsky
  10. 2000-2001: Stanley Kunitz
  11. 2001-2003: Billy Collins
  12. 2003-2004: Louise Glück
  13. 2004-2006: Ted Kooser
  14. 2006-2007: Donald Hall
  15. 2007-2008: Charles Simic
  16. 2008-2010: Kay Ryan
  17. 2010-2011: W. S. Merwin
  18. 2011-2012: Philip Levine
  19. 2012-2014: Natasha Trethewey
  20. 2014-2015: Charles Wright
  21. 2015-2017: Juan Felipe Herrera
  22. 2017-2019: Tracy K. Smith
  23. 2019-2022: Joy Harjo
  24. 2022-now: Ada Limón (officially takes position in September)

Who Are the Consultants in Poetry?

As mentioned above, the poet laureate position was previously titled Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Here are the people who served in that role (* next to names who also served as poet laureate):

  1. 1937-1941: Joseph Auslander
  2. 1943-1944: Allen Tate
  3. 1944-1945: Robert Penn Warren*
  4. 1945-1946: Louise Brogan
  5. 1946-1947: Karl Shapiro
  6. 1947-1948: Robert Lowell
  7. 1948-1949: Léonie Adams
  8. 1949-1950: Elizabeth Bishop
  9. 1950-1952: Conrad Aiken
  10. 1952: William Carlos Williams
  11. 1956-1958: Randall Jarrell
  12. 1958-1959: Robert Frost
  13. 1959-1961: Richard Eberhart
  14. 1961-1963: Louis Untermeyer
  15. 1963-1964: Howard Nemerov*
  16. 1964-1965: Reed Whittemore
  17. 1965-1966: Stephen Spender
  18. 1966-1968: James Dickey
  19. 1968-1970: William Jay Smith
  20. 1970-1971: William Stafford
  21. 1971-1973: Josephine Jacobsen
  22. 1973-1974: Daniel Hoffman
  23. 1974-1976: Stanley Kunitz*
  24. 1976-1978: Robert Hayden
  25. 1978-1980: William Meredith
  26. 1981-1982: Maxine Kumin
  27. 1982-1984: Anthony Hecht
  28. 1984-1985: Reed Whittemore (interim)
  29. 1984-1985: Robert Fitzgerald
  30. 1985-1986: Gwendolyn Brooks

To learn more, visit the Library of Congress site at www.loc.gov.

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