WHEREAS, Missouri has produced some of the most outstanding poets and writers of our time, including Samuel Clemens, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Tennessee Williams, Maya Angelou, and Laura Ingalls Wilder; and
WHEREAS, our poets, and their poetry, help define our humanity, and have contributed immeasurably to the culture of our state, the nation, and the world; and
WHEREAS, an awareness and appreciation of poetry increases literacy, creativity, and advances communication skills; and
WHEREAS, a great poem is capable of lifting our spirits, healing old wounds, creating bonds that last, and bridging any divide; and
WHEREAS, Missouri has been blessed with exceptional Poet Laureates over the years; and
WHEREAS, it is in the interest of all Missourians for the post of Missouri Poet Laureate to endure and for the Missouri Poet Laureate selection process to be expanded to ensure that the position continues to be filled with exceptional individuals.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby declare that the next Missouri Poet Laureate will be named in June 2016 and direct that a Missouri Poet Laureate be named biennially thereafter to serve for two years at the pleasure of the Governor. The Missouri Poet Laureate shall be selected by the Governor from open nominations solicited from across the state. In addition to other criteria established, the Missouri Poet Laureate shall be a published poet, a resident of Missouri, be active in the poetry community, and be willing and able to promote poetry in the State of Missouri throughout their term. The Missouri Poet Laureate shall be responsible for promoting the arts in Missouri by making public appearances at public libraries and schools across the state. The Missouri Poet Laureate shall also compose an original poem in honor of Missouri that may be used for publication and distribution.
To assist with the Missouri Poet Laureate selection process, the Missouri Poet Laureate Advisory Committee is hereby established and shall meet as necessary to assist in soliciting, publicizing, and encouraging nominations; to recommend appropriate additional criteria for the nomination process and for the post; to review and evaluate nominees; and to make recommendations to the Governor for appointment to the post of Missouri Poet Laureate. The Advisory Committee shall be comprised of five members appointed by the Governor. All members of the Advisory Committee shall have expertise in contemporary American poetry and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Missouri State Council on the Arts shall provide administrative support and guidance to the Advisory Committee.
Following the Governor's selection of a Missouri Poet Laureate in June 2016, the Missouri Poet Laureate Advisory Committee shall begin work on the nomination process for the succeeding Missouri Poet Laureate in March 20 I 8, and shall convene for such purpose thereafter every other year.
This Order shall take effect immediately and supersedes Executive Order 09-28.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 27th day of May, 2016.
[Jay Nixon's signature]
Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon
[Jason Kander's signature]
Secretary of State