Poet Laureate

Spread the love

Who is a Poet Laureate?

The Poet Laureate is one officially appointed by the government or the competent authority under the government. The position is granted to the poets for their remarkable poetic qualities. The idea is to use their poetic merit for the promotion of administrative achievements and the glorification of nationalism. The role of a Poet Laureate is to compose poems for important events. Generally, these poems are read at ceremonies and celebrations that mark historical significance for the nation and the country.

The Poet Laureate in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, The Poet Laureate is an officially acknowledged position conferred on poets of exceptional poetic genius. The poet thus honoured is declared a member of the Royal Household and he/she receives an honorarium for it. The practice started in the 17th century. The poets who are representatives of their respective ages, and uphold the British tradition of intellectuality and excellence, generally get this position. Many of the poets who have held this position received the honour of their memorials at Westminster Abbey. These memorials commemorate the contributions of these poets to British literature and culture. They also serve as a lasting legacy of their work. Furthermore, they offer visitors to Westminster Abbey an opportunity to learn about the history of poetry in the United Kingdom.

A List of Poets Laureate of the United Kingdom

John Dryden (1668–89)

Thomas Shadwell (1689–92)

Nahum Tate (1692–1715)

Nicholas Rowe (1715–18)

Laurence Eusden (1718–30)

Colley Cibber (1730–57)

William Whitehead (1757–85)

Thomas Warton (1785–90)

Henry James Pye (1790–1813)

Robert Southey (1813–43)

William Wordsworth (1843–50)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1850–92)

Alfred Austin (1896–1913)

Robert Bridges (1913–30)

John Masefield (1930–67)

Cecil Day-Lewis (1968–72)

Sir John Betjeman (1972–84)

Ted Hughes (1984–98)

Andrew Motion (1999–2009)

Carol Ann Duffy (2009–19)

Simon Armitage (2019– )

Poet Laureate

The Tradition in the United States of America

In 1937, the Librarian of Congress, following the British model, appointed Joseph Auslander Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. It is with this title that the tradition began in the United States of America. In 1985, through the Act of Congress, they changed the title to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. The same is commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate. The poet appointed to the position promotes American nationalism and encourages the tradition of writing. Some of the poets in this position have done great services in promoting education and other tasks of common welfare.

Consultants in Poetry to the Library of Congress

1937–1941: Joseph Auslander

1943–1944: Allen Tate

1944–1945: Robert Penn Warren

1945–1946: Louise Bogan

1946–1947: Karl Shapiro

1947–1948: Robert Lowell

1948–1949: Léonie Adams

1949–1950: Elizabeth Bishop

1950–1952: Conrad Aiken

1952: William Carlos Williams

1956–1958: Randall Jarrell

1958–1959: Robert Frost

1959–1961: Richard Eberhart

1961–1963: Louis Untermeyer

1963–1964: Howard Nemerov

1964–1965: Reed Whittemore

1965–1966: Stephen Spender

1966–1968: James Dickey

1968–1970: William Jay Smith

1970–1971: William Stafford

1971–1973: Josephine Jacobsen

1973–1974: Daniel Hoffman

1974–1976: Stanley Kunitz

1976–1978: Robert Hayden

1978–1980: William Meredith

1981–1982: Maxine Kumin

1982–1984: Anthony Hecht

1984–1985: Reed Whittemore

1984–1985: Robert Fitzgerald

1985–1986: Gwendolyn Brooks


Poet Laureate Consultants in Poetry to the Library of Congress

1986–1987: Robert Penn Warren

1987–1988: Richard Wilbur

1988–1990: Howard Nemerov

1990–1991: Mark Strand

1991–1992: Joseph Brodsky

1992–1993: Mona Van Duyn

1993–1995: Rita Dove

1995–1997: Robert Hass

1997–2000: Robert Pinsky

2000–2001: Stanley Kunitz

2001–2003: Billy Collins

2003–2004: Louise Glück

2004–2006: Ted Kooser

2006–2007: Donald Hall

2007–2008: Charles Simic

2008–2010: Kay Ryan

2010–2011: W. S. Merwin

2011–2012: Philip Levine

2012–2014: Natasha Trethewey

2014–2015: Charles Wright

2015–2017: Juan Felipe Herrera

2017–2019: Tracy K. Smith

2019–2022: Joy Harjo

2022–present: Ada Limón


Looking for an article about the poem Hawk’s Monologue by Ted Hughes??? It’s here.

1 thought on “<strong>Poet Laureate</strong>”

Leave a Comment