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Past Poet Laureates

Past Poet Laureates


Former Poets Laureate


1959-1962            Maria Briscoe Coker

1962-1979            Vincent Godfrey Burns

1979-1985            Lucille Clifton

1985-1988            Reed Whittemore

1991-1995            Linda Pastan

1995-2000            Roland Flint

2001-2004            Michael Collier

2004-2008            Michael Glaser

2008-2012            Stanley Plumly


Former Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly (2008-2012)

Stanley Plumly and Governor Martin O'Malley at press conference announcing Plumly's appointment.

Stanley Plumly was appointed the ninth Poet Laureate of Maryland on October 1, 2009 by Governor Martin O'Malley. He was the author of nine books of poetry, including Old Heart (Norton, 2008), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2007. Mr. Plumly authored Posthumous Keats (Norton, 2008), a “personal biography” of the English poet, John Keats, which received widespread critical acclaim by reviewers for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker, among others, and his poems, essays, articles, and reviews appeared in many of the country’s best periodicals and newspapers.

Stanley Plumly was the recipient of numerous awards including eight Pushcart Prizes, the Paterson Poetry Prize (2007), an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2002), and a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation (2001).

The Poet Laureate position was formally established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1959 (Chapter 178, Acts of 1959; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-306) and authorizes the Governor to appoint a citizen of the State as Poet Laureate of Maryland.

Poet Laureates have served for the State since the inception of this Act in 1959. Past Poet Laureates include (in order of service): Maria B. Coker, Vincent Godfrey Burns, Lucille Clifton, Reed Whittemore, Linda Pastan, Roland Flint, Michael Collier, and Michael Glaser.

The Poet Laureate of Maryland is an honorary State position in which the individual selected will serve at the discretion of the Governor for up to a four-year term renewable by the Governor’s consent. The Poet Laureate will provide public readings for the citizens of Maryland, ensuring that people in all geographic regions of the State have access to at least one reading during the term of service. As an honorary position the Poet Laureate will not receive compensation, though limited reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of duties is available.

Stanley Pumly Information and Interviews

Stanley Plumly in his own words

Listen to Audio Podcast (56:40 minutes)

Stanley Plumly was honored with the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the Academy of American Poets' Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. His prose publications included a new book of essays, Argument & Song: Sources & Silences in Poetry. His New and Selected Poems, Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me, received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of English at the University of Maryland.

The photos below are from a visit to Parkville High School in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Stanley Plumly, Maryland Poet Laureate

Audience members listen to the Poet Laureate

From left to right: Stephen Devorah (English Department), Laura Revere (English Chairperson), Stephen Edgar (Principal), Stanley Plumly (Poet Laureate), Judy Dobbs (Program Officer, Maryland Humanities Council).

The photo above is from the Poet Laureate's visit to the Maryland Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped through the Maryland Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau on April 15, 2010.