Wisconsin Poet Laureate


The Wisconsin Poet Laureate is our state’s ambassador for poetry. During a two-year term, the Poet Laureate travels the state to share a love of language and to encourage creative expression among adults and kids alike. Since the position was created in 2000 by an Executive Order of Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, we have benefited from the tireless dedication of our Poet Laureates.  

The WHC is one of six member organizations that provide financial support and representatives to serve on the Poet Laureate Commission

Our current Poet Laureate is Karla Huston. She is the author of eight chapbooks of poems, the latest called Grief Bone, and a full collection titled A Theory of Lipstick. Her work has garnered many awards, including a Pushcart Prize for the poem “Theory of Lipstick” in 2011. She lives in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she is very active on the board of the Council for Wisconsin Writers (CWW), as vice president, membership coordinator, and teaching staff at The Mill: A Place for Writers, a Fox Cities venue that offers a creative environment to encourage the growth of the literary community and provides learning opportunities for writers at all levels, and as a contributing organizer of the Fox Cities Book Festival. Huston’s poems find their roots in the stories we tell, those memories which define us as human, and is most interested in the restorative potential of poetry and the arts. As Poet Laureate, she plans to nurture the growth of poetry reading and writing as part the Memory Café project: an arm of the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, this ground-breaking program brings together people who suffer from mild memory loss and dementia, along with their caregivers, to celebrate and collaborate in creativity and storytelling.

To learn more about Ms. Huston, read some of her poetry, and contact her about events and readings, visit the Wisconsin Poet Laureate website.

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Past Poet Laureates

Kimberly Blaeser 2015-2016

Max Garland – 2013-2014

Bruce Dethlefsen – 2011-2012

Marilyn L. Taylor – 2008-2010

Denise Sweet – 2004-2008

Ellen Kort – 2000-2004