Tag Archives: Nebraska Arts Council

Nebraska State Poet Nominations Due August 16th

June 28, 2024

FOR MORE INFORMATION:                            
Sam Hennigh, Communications Manager

Nebraska State Poet Nominations Due August 16th

The Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission are seeking nominations for the next Nebraska State Poet. This designation recognizes and honors a Nebraska poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. Nominations must be submitted online no later than midnight CDT on August 16, 2024.

Nominations may be made by any organization or individual in the state of Nebraska. To be considered, nominees must consent to the nomination. All nominations will be reviewed by the State Poet Selection Committee, which is made up of five individuals who are established members of Nebraska’s literary, cultural, educational and academic communities. After the committee selects finalists, the governor will make the final selection.

State Poet nominations will be collected and reviewed online only. The first step is to contact nac.info@nebraska.gov to verify if the poet in question has been nominated already. After the nominator has received a response to their query, the second step is to complete the online nomination form using the Nebraska Arts Council’s SlideRoom application site. The site includes complete instructions for submitting nomination materials.

The Nebraska State Poet will be chosen based on artistic excellence, exemplary professionalism demonstrated by significant publications and special honors, an established history of community service in the advancement of poetry in Nebraska, and the ability to present poetry and interact effectively with a public audience. In addition, the State Poet must be a legal, full-time resident for at least three years prior to the nomination deadline and must maintain Nebraska residence dur­ing his or her full term of office.

Once selected, the Nebraska State Poet will serve a five-year renewable term as an advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature in Nebraska. Duties include giving public presentations and readings, leading workshops and discussions, and providing outreach in schools, libraries, literary festivals, and various venues in rural and urban communities throughout the state.

Statewide presentations will be funded in part through the Nebraska Arts Council’s Nebraska Touring Program and the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. An annual stipend will also be provided to support a statewide project, designed by the State Poet, and participation in programming led by the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. The stipend will be $10,000 annually for the first two years of the term, with possible adjustments during the final three years, subject to sponsoring organization budgets.

The position of Nebraska Poet Laureate was established in 1921 when John G. Neihardt was appointed by the Legislature. In 1982, William Kloefkorn was appointed Nebraska State Poet by Governor Charles Thone. Kloefkorn served as State Poet for more than 25 years until his death in May 2011. In November 2013, Governor Dave Heineman appointed Twyla Hansen as Nebraska State Poet. When her term ended in December 2018, Governor Pete Ricketts appointed Matt Mason as State Poet. Mason’s service ends in December 2024.

For more information about the Nebraska State Poet selection process, visit State Poet Selection Guidelines – Nebraska Arts Council or State Poet Nomination Guidelines – Humanities Nebraska. Humanities Nebraska is a private nonprofit with a mission to help people explore what connects us and makes us human. Humanities Nebraska is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, an appropriation from the Nebraska Legislature, private donations, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a public-private partnership with state dollars matching private dollars to benefit the arts and humanities in Nebraska.

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#BookFaceFriday “Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know”

#BookFaceFriday is being blown away by Nebraska’s new State Poet!

"Things We Don't Know We Don't Know" by Matt Mason bookface photo

Matt Mason, Nebraska’s recently proclaimed State Poet for the term of 2019-2024, visited us to chat about poetry and his new role on this week’s NCompass Live webinar. Check out the recorded show, “A Conversation with Nebraska’s New State Poet, Matt Mason” in our NCompass Live archives. This week’s #BookFace highlights “Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know” by Matt Mason (The Backwaters Press, 2006.) If you haven’t read any of Matt’s poetry yet all we can say is “DO IT!” Take a peek at page 42 and read “After the 1996 Fiesta Bowl” and then watch Matt perform it on NCompass Live. You will not be disappointed with this Nebraska Book Award winning poetry collection!

“The only thing better than reading these poems is to hear Matt Mason himself read them.” –Marjorie Saiser

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is the author himself, Matt Mason!

Fun Fact: This book’s cover photo is by John Spence, who Matt used to work with. Matt knew he was a photographer and asked if he had photos which might go with the book. As they went back and forth, he mentioned that Bill Kloefkorn’s first printing of his first book had a photo of Spence’s on the cover. For those of you who aren’t Nebraska poetry buffs, Kloefkorn was a past State Poet of Nebraska.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available at Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!


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Celebrate National Poetry Month with the National Poetry Out Loud Competition

poetryoutloudlogoAmanda Pohlman, a freshman from Skutt Catholic High School, Omaha, will compete for the National Poetry Out Loud championship in Washington, D.C. April 29-30, 2014. Amanda, who won the won the Nebraska state championship earlier this spring, is one of nearly 3,000 Nebraska students from 25 high schools that participated in Poetry Out Loud this year.

Poetry Out Loud is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.  The program encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. It helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Now in its ninth year, Poetry Out Loud has grown to involve millions of students across the country.  To be eligible to participate, a high school must be registered with the state coordinator.  For more information on Nebraska’s Poetry Out Loud program, contact Anne Alston, EducationManager at the Nebraska Arts Council, at 402.595.2122 or anne.alston@nebraska.gov.

Poetry Out Loud offers educators free curriculum materials, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, and video and audio on the art of recitation.  Download these resources and find out more about this program at http://www.poetryoutloud.org/.

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