Poetry transcends boundaries, provoking thought, dialogue, and understanding. 

Representing the many rich cultures of our state, the State Poet Laureate of New Mexico program will support literacy and enhance education while promoting personal growth and arts enrichment to every part of the state.

The State Poet Laureate will explore, create, share, and engage.    

Their tenure is a journey, on which we are all along for the ride. 


  • Enrich the Lives of New Mexicans
  • Make poetry a regular part of library programming and school curricula
  • Encourage poets to engage with other cultures and other poets
  • Support the creation of new poetry
  • Create a regular anthology representing the diversity of the state
  • Celebrate and increase visibility of poetry, arts, and culture throughout the state
  • Develop new partnerships in the arts across media



Engage with poets and cultures statewide

Document the Poet Laureate’s journey over the course of the three-year appointment through a blog or vlog with a minimum of a once-a-month post


Write and publish original poetry

Write original works for official events and special occasions where possible

Collaborate with a variety of arts across media


Collect poetries from around the State for sharing online, at readings, and for inclusion in an anthology of NM poetry

Readings and Engagement

At official events provide a suitable reading or create new work to enhance, create a sense of ritual, and set the stage for things to come

Deliver readings around the state, seeking to visit every county

Host interactive workshops and events around the state, which may include readings, Poetry Out Loud workshops, poetry slams, teen library programs, and other programs that will promote and inspire poetry

Engage with schools and libraries to support literacy and arts education, which may include serving on Poetry Out Loud workshops, assisting with the development of a Youth Poet Laureate program, and serving as a juror for statewide writing awards



Diversity:  Applications from poets representing the rich variety of cultures, geographies, and types of poetry is strongly encouraged. 

Personal Qualities: Priority is given to poets that demonstrate:

  • Commitment to and understanding of the Poet Laureate Program and its objectives
  • An ability to engage openly, honestly, and sincerely with a wide range of people
  • An eagerness to represent New Mexico in its entirety
  • Commitment to bringing poetry to a wide range of places and people
  • Passion for poetry and is able to communicate it


Individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age at the time of nomination
  • Agree to the conditions and terms of appointment
  • Be able to agree on and enter into a contract with the Department of Cultural Affairs
  • May not be a previous State Poet Laureate
  • Submit to a background check


  • Have been a NM resident for at least three years
  • Be able to obtain a NM CRS number
  • Be able to be a resident for the term of the appointment
  • Be a current NM resident, or have made a significant contribution to New Mexico poetry

Published Work and Engagement

  • Have a compelling portfolio of published work
  • Demonstrate an established history of activity in New Mexico, e.g., readings, publications, public presentations, etc.
  • Provide evidence of achievement in the art of poetry, including having a body of publicly accessible work (books, literary magazines, and/or digital media)
  • Is widely considered to be a poet of stature
  • Have received significant recognition or awards.
  • Poets of all subgenres (e.g., prose, slam poetry, cowboy poetry) and styles will be considered.


  • Demonstrate a willingness to interact with a diverse public
  • Demonstrate an ability and willingness to travel
  • Be able to appropriately represent the poetry and arts community at state functions and ceremonies, being respectful of other cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs
  • Must be prepared to undertake the public role required of the laureate
  • Capacity to foster public appreciation of and participation in poetry through readings, public presentations and teaching in diverse communities

Selection of Committee Members

Committee members are selected by the Department of Cultural Affairs to represent a variety of geographies, poetics, and cultures.  The Selection Committee may include past Poet Laureates. Members should be able to attend online Committee meetings.  Committee members should reveal and seek to avoid any Conflicts of Interest. 

Role of the Committee

The Selection Committee is provided a copy of the Program Guidelines.  Members are tasked with selecting a Poet Laureate that can fulfill the responsibilities per the guidelines.  Special emphasis is placed on priority areas.  The NM Arts Director will chair the meeting or delegate this role to another DCA employee.  The Chair will not be a voting member of the Committee. 

Nomination Process

New Mexico Poets may apply to be Poet Laureate, or any New Mexican may nominate a New Mexico poet for Poet Laureate.

Required Documentation to Be Submitted with the Application/Nomination

All applications/nominations must include the following documentation:

  • Letter of interest including a description of your interest in the position and a brief statement of the special initiative you propose undertaking (one page maximum in .doc or .pdf file format)
  • Biographical information (one page maximum in .doc or .pdf file format)
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (three pages maximum in .doc or .pdf file format) with bibliography of published works (two pages maximum in .doc or .pdf file format)
  • Previous awards and/or recognitions (one page maximum in .doc or .pdf file format)
  • Samples of original poetry. (Five poems max. within a seven-page limit in .doc or .pdf file format)
  • Audio or video samples of you reading your work. Submit MP3 audio files or provide links to websites (e.g., a personal website, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • Additionally, up to three additional letters of support sent directly to the Poetry Center via email

Applications/nominations should be emailed to the State Library Poetry Center at:


A short list of up to five candidates will be interviewed by the Selection Committee in person or via Zoom.  Any necessary travel will be reimbursed per State rules. 

The first year the short list will be selected by NM Arts and the NM State Library in collaboration with the current Poet Laureate. 

Terms of Service

The Poet Laureate shall serve a three-year term, running July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025. Individuals shall not serve back-to-back terms. If a Poet Laureate cannot fulfill the contract for any circumstances, the Selection Committee will be asked to identify a replacement to fill the remainder of the term, with the option to extend to another full term at the Committee’s discretion, and contingent on approval of the Department of Cultural Affairs. 


Poet Laureate is paid $10,000 per year. The Poet Laureate shall receive a quarterly payment of $2,500 upon completion of adequate documentation of activities as contracted.  Pre-approved travel costs, not to exceed an average of $400 per month, will be reimbursed. 

Copyright and Licenses

The Poet Laureate will reserve every right available in common law and under the Federal Copyright Act.  The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs requests copyright license in perpetuity to publish and distribute written works and audio created as part of the Poet Laureate’s agreement, including advertising, media, brochures, podcasts, online journals, etc. 

Abandonment of or Removal from Post

The Poet Laureate shall provide at least 60 days’ notice of abandonment of the post to NM Arts.  Documentation for any work completed shall be submitted to NM Arts for final payment. 

Per the Terms of the Contract between the Poet Laureate and NM Arts, the Poet Laureate may be removed within 60 days’ notice.  

The Selection Committee may be convened to consider any recommendations to remove the Poet Laureate from their post.  By majority vote the Selection Committee shall instruct the Department of Cultural Affairs to submit a removal letter to the poet, make payments on any work already done, and re-open the selection process for a new Poet Laureate and new term.