Press Releases


State Arts Council Announces Call for Nominations for State Poet

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) is seeking nominations for the position of State Poet of Rhode Island. This position, created by law in 1989, will be filled through a five-year appointment by Governor Gina M. Raimondo, based in part on recommendations submitted by the State Arts Council. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

"Rhode Island's State Poet embodies the creativity that we need to revitalize the economy and spark Rhode Island's comeback," said Governor Raimondo. "Our state poet's role is to inspire an emerging generation of poets and writers who live and work in Rhode Island. I look forward to working with the State Arts Council through this selection process."

While each Rhode Island State Poet leaves his or her own personal imprint on the program, duties typically include public activities with schools and community groups. For the past several years the Rhode Island State Poet has contributed a regular column on poetry to the Providence Journal, and his or her work has been included in the Inauguration of the past two governors.

The position of State Poet of Rhode Island has been in existence since 1989, and is traditionally held by an artist who represents the highest achievement in poetry in our state. While no specific duties are mentioned in the legislation, the State Poet serves as the principal advocate for poetry in Rhode Island.

Previous state poets are Michael Harper (1989-1994), C.D. Wright (1994-1999), Thomas Chandler (1999-2006) and Lisa Starr (2007-2012). The current state poet is Rick Benjamin, who is resigning his post at the end of the year to take a position in California.

The State Arts Council is organizing a "call for nominations" for this position. The selection criteria for the State Poet position include:

A Rhode Island resident with deep connections to the cultural life of this state Literary excellence of the writer's work Influence on other poets and appreciation of poetry in its diversity throughout the state Ability and willingness to conduct the public engagement duties of the office

We are particularly interested in nominations that reflect the diversity of our state, and the diversity of styles and practices in the field of poetry. Any Rhode Island citizen may submit a nomination for State Poet. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

Nominations can be submitted online at

About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
  • Online:
  • Release date: 11-05-2015

Share this: