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NAPERVILLE - State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) is encouraging Illinois residents to nominate a new poet laureate, a position that has been vacant since 2017.

Composed of poets, writers, and academics from across the state, the committee will review nominations and give a recommendation of which Illinoisan should become the state’s newest poet laureate.

“I’m urging residents to nominate individuals who qualify for this great honor,” Ellman said. “Poetry is an important part of our culture, and I’m thrilled that a resident will once again have the opportunity    to be named Illinois’ poet laureate.”  

The position was established in 1936, with Howard B. Austin serving as the first poet laureate. Since Austin, only three other Illinoisans have held the title: Carl Sandburg (1962-67), Gwendolyn Brooks (1968-2000), and Kevin Stein (2003-2017).

Nominations for the title begin July 1, 2020 and will be accepted until August 15, 2020. Nominees are required to be a current Illinois resident, a published author and have a history of activity in the state’s literary community. Nominations may be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to:

Illinois Poet Laureate Search Committee

c/o Office of the Governor

207 State House

Springfield, IL 62706

A full description of the position qualifications and nominating requirements is available on the website of the Illinois Poet Laureate: www.illinois.gov/poetlaureate. For additional information, or questions regarding the Illinois Poet Laureate nomination process and position, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Contact Info

District Office
552 S. Washington, Suite 104
Naperville, IL 60540
Phone: (630) 453-5488

Springfield Office
M122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-8192