Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate

To promote and encourage appreciation of poetry and literary life in Hawaiʻi and the poetry community while inspiring an emerging generation of new writers. Program launched in 2022 as a collaboration of the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, Hawaiʻi State Public Library System, and the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA).

Nominations will be open June 20 – August 20, 2022.

About the Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate

This designation recognizes and honors a Hawaiʻi poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. The Poet Laureate will serve a multiyear term, subject to the determination of SFCA Commissioners. Duties include:

  • Participation in at least four events annually during the term, involving the Governorʻs Office, State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Hawaiʻi State Public Library System, or Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities.
  • One community-engaged poetry publication (publication can be a variety of media forms including print, film, performance, or online), incorporating poetic works from people across the islands during the multiyear term.
  • Facilitate at least eight community-engaged poetry workshops per year with/for diverse populations on different islands.
  • Organize and participate in at least one annual reading also featuring other local poets.

Eligibility

  • Must be a legal, full-time Hawaiʻi resident.
  • Must maintain Hawaiʻi residency during the full multiyear term of office.
  • Must be available to travel statewide and give presentations.
  • Nominees will not be considered until they indicate their consent to the nomination.

Important Dates

  • June 20 – August 20, 2022: Nominations and applications open.
  • August – September 2022: Panel review of applications.
  • November 2022: SFCA Commissioners approval of panel recommendations.
  • November/December 2022: Notification of selection.
  • January 2023 – June 30, 2025: contract period.

Resources and References

Graphic reading Hawaii State Poet Laureate

Contact

Kathleen “Kacey” Bejado
Arts Program Coordinator

The Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate Application Process

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a legal, full-time Hawaiʻi resident.
  • Must maintain Hawaiʻi residency during the full multiyear term of office.
  • Must be available to travel statewide and give presentations.
  • Nominees will not be considered until they indicate their consent to the nomination.

Selection Criteria

The Hawaiʻi Poet Laureate will be selected based on:

  • A body of work that has been professionally published/performed/exhibited and acknowledged as achieving a high degree of artistic excellence.
  • Ten (10) years or more of doing poetry in Hawaiʻi.
  • Three (3) or more years of poetry facilitation / educator experience.
  • Demonstrated deep commitment to Hawaiʻi and understanding of our diverse communities and histories.
  • An established history of community service in the advancement of poetry in Hawaiʻi, and the ability to present poetry, and effectively and creatively engage with a public audience.

Nomination Instructions

Nominations may be made by an organization or individual. Self-nominations are allowed.

The first step in making a nomination is to email a completed Poet Laureate Nomination Form to [email protected]. Once the form has been reviewed and approved by SFCA staff, you will receive an email with permission to move on to the next step of the nomination process. If your nominee has already been nominated, you will be asked to submit a letter of support.

If you receive permission to proceed, the second step is to email the following to [email protected]:

  • One-page narrative describing the nominee’s qualifications to serve as the Hawaiʻi Poet Laureate, including experience as a Hawaiʻi writer, efforts to advance poetry in Hawaiʻi, and ability to interact with the public in promoting poetry and writing.

Application Instructions

When a nomination has been approved, the nominee will receive an invitation code via email to access the application on Hawaii.GoSmart.org (see below). The nominee will provide the following material via Hawaii.GoSmart.org:

  • Completed and signed online consent form.
  • Statement of intent answering these questions:
    • What is your vision for the role of Hawaiʻi Poet Laureate?
    • If selected, what would you like to do or accomplish in that role?
    • Include a brief description of a 3-year project proposal to be completed as the Hawaiʻi State Poet Laureate. We encourage this project to be collaborative and include poets throughout the islands.
  • Nominee’s resume, including education, publications, awards, and recent activities such as poetry readings, workshops, interviews, and school visits.
  • Three (3) samples of the nominee’s published writing, approximately twenty pages.
  • Two (2) letters of support or recommendation, approximately 500-800 words each.
  • Certificate indicating the nominee is registered and compliant with Hawaiʻi Compliance Express.

Application Review

  • Applications received by the deadline will be reviewed by SFCA staff for eligibility and completeness. Applications that are not eligible or that are not complete will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified about receipt of their application, eligibility, and completeness.
  • Applicants will receive official written notification of the outcome of their application after the panel recommendations are made.
  • A selection committee assembled and convened by the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System will review all nominations, select finalists, and attend private presentations by finalists. The committee is comprised of individuals who are members of Hawaiʻi’s literary, cultural, educational and academic communities, and the community-at-large.