New Mexico State Library

Nominations Open for Inaugural State Poet Laureate

October 29, 2019

Eli Guinnee

(Santa Fe, New Mexico) --- Nominations open Wednesday, Oct. 30 for the position of State Poet Laureate. Sponsored by Senator Bill O’Neill, the 2019 legislature created the program within the Department of Cultural Affairs, developed as a partnership between the New Mexico State Library and New Mexico Arts.

“Poetry has been an essential part of our shared human history since the earliest of times,” says Department of Cultural Affairs cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego. “The Department of Cultural Affairs honors the expressive nature of this art form, which has the power to entertain, encourage, enrich and educate. We are proud to see the vision of State Poet Laureate finally become reality.”

Senator O’Neill says, “So many of my legislative colleagues did not realize that New Mexico was one of only a couple of states that did not have a state poet laureate. Now that has changed. Through the expertise of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and with this level of funding, we will now have potentially one of the best State Poet Laureate programs in the nation."

The position includes a stipend of $25,000 a year, travel and printing expenses, and part time staff support. The poet will support literacy and enhance education while promoting arts enrichment in every part of the state. Through speaking engagements statewide and programs at schools and libraries, the poet will engage all New Mexicans through there their love of poetry. 

State Librarian Eli Guinnee says, “The poet will go on a journey across New Mexico to interact with the incredibly rich cultures, geographies, and poetries that exist in the state, and we all get to go along for the ride.”

The Poet Laureate will document their travels in a web journal and podcast, and they will curate a scheduled triennial anthology of New Mexico poetry to highlight the work of the many poets statewide.    

As part of the program, the State Library is developing a new Poetry Center in the Carruthers Building in Santa Fe, to open in 2020. Providing an office for the Poet Laureate, the Poetry Center will also be an interactive public space supporting the creation of new poetry, zines, and self-publications.

Nominations for the position of State Poet Laureate will be received through November 15, 2019. More information about the program and the nomination process are available online at or by emailing


About the New Mexico State Library:

The New Mexico State Library is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the guidance of the New Mexico Library Commission.  Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico State Library Foundation through the generous support of donors.

Established in 1929, the New Mexico State Library provides services that support public and tribal libraries, delivers direct library services to rural populations, state agencies, the visually impaired and physically disabled, and students and citizens conducting research. The library supports public libraries by providing consulting services, offering training and continuing education opportunities, administering the librarian certification program, coordinating a state-wide summer reading program and tribal library program, and administering state and federal grants to public libraries.

1209 Camino Carlos Rey, Santa Fe, NM 87507-5166, Phone: (505) 476-9700. The New Hours: 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Events, news releases and images about activities at the State Library and other divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at


About New Mexico Arts:

New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, is the state arts agency.  New Mexico Arts administers the state’s One Percent for Public Art program, awards grants to nonprofit organizations for arts and cultural programs in their communities across the state, and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for organizations, artists, and arts educators throughout New Mexico. 

Related Photos

2019 Poet Laureate Nominations NMA & NMSL logo snip

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