Kansas State’s Traci Brimhall chosen as the Poet Laureate of Kansas

Poet Laureate of Kansas
(Photo courtesy of Traci Brimhall)

Traci Brimhall, professor of English at Kansas State and the Poet Laureate of Kansas, will travel the state as an arts ambassador to present readings and discuss poetry in communities all over Kansas for the next four years. 

Brimhall said she has a great passion for poetry and loves sharing that passion with others.

 “I like talking about poetry to people,” Brimhall said. “I love teaching about poetry. I love connecting with people. I love talking about the importance of language and poetry.” 

An inquisitive mind is imperative for a poet, and Brimhall said she wants to deepen her understanding of her craft.

“I’m perpetually curious about different things,” Brimhall said. “I want to learn how to use language in a different way.”

Having earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a doctorate from Western Michigan University, Brimhall is extremely qualified. Throughout her life she traveled extensively but has settled happily in Manhattan. This is her ninth year at K-State.

Brimhall said in the United States, the poet laureate acts as a poetry consultant to the United States Congress. 

“It’s different in England,” Brimhall said. “In England, the job is to write poems for the Queen’s birthday.”

The Kansas Creative Arts Commission had an open-call for applications for the poet laureate. Brimhall applied knowing the commission only selects three or four applicants. After she was chosen, Brimhall went through interviews and submitted 10 pages of poetry.

Not every state has a poet laureate, but some cities have their own. The rules differ for each appointment.

Brimhall’s position requires her to present at a minimum of 10 events a year. She said she is enthusiastic about the next four years and is looking forward to traveling the state. Her programs are free of charge for non-profit organizations.

Applications for her presentations are available online at Kansas Commerce.