The U.S Poet Laureate for October 2010-May 2011 is W.S. Merwin. Since 1937, the United States Library of Congress has appointed an official "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress." The duties are kept to a minimum so holders of this position may have time to write. The poet laureate gives an annual lecture and reading of his or her poetry and usually introduces poets in the Library's annual poetry series held since the 1940's in the Washington, D.C. area . (See video chat with Merwin on left side bar.)
Mr. Merwin is a poet, translator and environmental activist. He lives, writes and gardens at his home on Maui. He has become one of the most widely read and imitated poets in America. He is the son of a minister and began his writing career at age five writing hymns. Over the years, his themes have moved from the formal and medieval to a more distinctly American voice. Mr. Merwin has won numerous international and national prizes including twice for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and a National Book Award.
Idaho does not have a poet laureate but instead a "Writer-in-Residence." He is novelist Brady Udall. Professor Udall will serve through June 2013. He has authored The Lonely Polygamist and Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. He is an associate professor in the M.F.A. creative writing program at Boise State University. Writer-in-Residence is the highest literary recognition in the state, replacing the former position of state Poet Laureate. It pays $2,666 per annum and his duties include presentations of twelve public readings during his three-year term, eight of which must be in rural communities. He may be required (by the overseer, the State Arts Commission) to give three more readings at special public events.
For The Anniversary of My Death by W.S. Merwin
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
Mr. Merwin will appear April 27 at the Egyptian Theater in Boise at 7:30PM. Tickets are $12 for student up to $35. A special reception with Mr. Merwin, "I Think Therefore Iambic," is scheduled from 6:00-7:00pm that night and tickets are $25. For tickets, call The Cabin, 208-331-8000 or www.thecabininidaho.org.