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Search for First Missouri Poet Laureate Continues

By Laura Spencer

Kansas City, MO – Forty-one states, including Kansas, have state poet laureates. That number will soon increase by one. The selection process starts this week for Missouri's first poet laureate and 137 poets were nominated for the job. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

Two Missouri poets have served as national poet laureates: Howard Nemerov and Mona Van Duyn. And T.S. Eliot, a native of St. Louis, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. But this is the first year for a Missouri poet laureate.

Kevin Prufer, a poet, and professor of English at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, is on the nominating committee. Prufer says he's looking for certain attributes.

Kevin Prufer: "First of all, someone who's a good poet. And somebody whose work I admire. It's important that the poet laureate be somebody who has lived in Missouri for a long time. And has a background working as an advocate for poetry in Missouri and has the energy and time to continue to do that as poet laureate."

More than 100 nominations were submitted by the December 1st deadline. The nominating Committee is expected to meet Wednesday to narrow the field to five or less. Those recommendations will be submitted to Governor Matt Blunt who'll announce his choice for the new poet laureate in mid-December. Laura Spencer, KCUR News.

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