Nebraska State Poet 2019 – 2024
Matt Mason was named the 2019-2024 Nebraska State Poet.
The Nebraska State Poet is a designation that recognizes and honors a Nebraska poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. The State Poet serves a five-year renewable term as an advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature in Nebraska. The duties of the State Poet include giving public presentations and readings, leading workshops and discussions, and providing other outreach in schools, libraries, literary festivals, and various venues in rural and urban communities throughout the state. To accomplish this, the State Poet joins with the Nebraska Art Council’s Nebraska Touring Program and the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. The first poet to hold the position of Nebraska State Poet was William Kloefkorn, who served for 29 years, until his death in May 2011.
The Nebraska State Poet is selected 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 Nebraska State Poet must be a legal, full-time resident for at least three years prior to the application deadline and must maintain Nebraska residency during the full term of office.
Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal Program
As part of a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets with help from Humanities, Nebraska, the Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal Program is touring the state.
Led by Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason, the tour hopes to travel to various parts of Nebraska, bringing along other poets from Omaha and Lincoln to spur discussions through poetry in schools, libraries, correctional facilities, etc, which are intended to carry on beyond just the days’ events.
The goal of the project is to start conversations between poets from different parts of the state and different backgrounds, with the touring poets reading their work and encouraging students and audience members to write poems in response and sending them in through teachers at their schools.
Teachers, librarians and other community leaders can bring the Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal Program to their communities by contacting Matt Mason directly.
Follow the program on the Nebraska State Poet Facebook page.
Matt Mason Installation Ceremony (excerpt)
with an introduction by Twyla M. Hansen (State Poet 2013-2018) and Matt's acceptance speech
"Now That You've Named Me State Poet of Nebraska, Let the Reign of Terror Commence"
written and performed by Matt Mason
The Nebraska State Poet is made possible through partnership with:
The Governor of the State of Nebraska