Colorado Poet Laureate - Call for Nominations

Colorado's Poet Laureate, Joe Hutchison.

Nominations for the position of Colorado Poet Laureate are open for submissions. The Poet Laureate position was created to promote an appreciation of poetry in Colorado and to honor outstanding Colorado poets. The Poet Laureate serves as an active advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature by participating in readings and other events at schools, libraries, literary festivals, and the State Capitol. The Poet Laureate will also provide the Governor with an annual account of the impact and success of the Colorado Poet Laureate program.


The selection of Poet Laureate will be based on artistic excellence, a demonstrated history of community service in the advancement of poetry, and the ability to present poetry effectively. A review panel will be convened to review nominations and make recommendations to the Governor, who will make the final selection. Complete nominations will be accepted November 15, 2018 through February 1, 2019. The Poet Laureate chosen by the Governor will serve a four-year term beginning in July 2019.

Any organization or individual may nominate poets for consideration. Nominators should work closely with their choice to submit the nomination form and information requested. Self-nomination is also an option. The Colorado Poet Laureate must be a legal, full-time Colorado resident for at least three years prior to the nomination deadline. The Poet Laureate must also remain a resident of Colorado during the term of office and must pass a standard background check. Nominations must be submitted no later than February 1, 2019 to Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book via Submittable at https://coloradohumanities.submittable.com/submit/116371/colorado-poet-laureate-nominations-2018

About current Colorado Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison

Joseph Hutchison, current Poet Laureate of Colorado, is the award-winning author of 19 poetry collections, including Eyes of the Cuervo/Ojos del Crow(a bilingual edition), The World As Is: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2015; Marked Men; The Satire Lounge; Thread of the Real; and Bed of Coals. He has also published a translation of Ephemeral, by Mexican fabulist Miguel Lupián, and edited three poetry anthologies—Legions of the Sun: Poems of the Great War,Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (with Andrea Watson), and with Gary Schroeder, A Song for Occupations: Poems about the American Way of Work. At the University of Denver’s University College, he directs two master’s programs for working adults: Professional Creative Writing and Arts & Culture Management. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Hutchison lives in the mountains southwest of the city with his wife, Iyengar yoga instructor Melody Madonna. More information can be found on his website: www.jhwriter.com.

To invite current Colorado Poet Laureate Joe Hutchison to your community, please email poetlaureate@coloradohumanities.org. To learn more about Joe, please visit his website.

City Limits

for Melody

You're like wildwood at the edge of a city.
And I'm the city: steam, sirens, a jumble
of lit and unlit windows in the night.

You're the land as it must have been
and will be-before me, after me.
It's your natural openness
I want to enfold me. But then
you'd become city; or you'd hide
away your wildness to save it.

So I stay within limits-city limits,
heart limits. Although, under everything,
I have felt unlimited earth. Unlimited you.

by Joe Hutchison

Colorado was the second state in the country, after California, to name a poet laureate when Alice Polk Hill was appointed by Governor Oliver Shoup in 1919. Since then, seven others have served:

  • Nellie Burget Miller (1923-1952)
  • Margaret Clyde Robertson (1952-1954)
  • Milford E. Shields (1954)
  • Thomas Hornsby Ferril (1979-1988)
  • Mary Crow (1996-2010)
  • David Mason (2010-2014)
  • Joe Hutchison (present)