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Indiana Poet Laureate

Meet Indiana's Poet Laureate Matthew Graham

During his 35 years in southern Indiana, Matthew Graham has been a respected and recognized writer, teacher, and advocate for poetry and the arts. Having recently retired from the University of Southern Indiana (USI), he has taught all levels of creative writing, contemporary literature, and worked with multicultural and international students in freshman composition. Among other community service Graham has worked with diverse writing groups such as high school students and community writing groups.

Matthew Graham is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Geography of Home (Galileo Press, 2018). His work has earned numerous national, regional and local honors and awards, including a Pushcart Prize, an Academy of American Poets Award, two grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Artist of the Year Award from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana.

While at USI, Matthew co-founded and co-directed (with Thomas Wilhelmus) The Ropewalk Writers' Retreat, a summer program that brought national and international writers to New Harmony, Indiana for 22 years, and the Ropewalk Visiting Writers Series, which brought prominent fiction and non-fiction writers and poets to the USI campus for free public readings. The list of participating writers includes the present U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.

What does Indiana's Poet Laureate do?

In 2005, Senate Bill No. 433 established a process for selecting a state poet laureate. The Indiana Poet Laureate is responsible for:

  • Making appearances at schools, including the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impact and the Indiana School for the Deaf, and libraries
  • Offering advice the IAC concerning ways to further the art of poetry in Indiana
  • Represent Indiana and the art of poetry to the education community and public

In addition to these formal duties, each poet laureate has adopted unique personal goals while holding the office. Current Poet Laureate, Matthew Graham is currently collaborating with Indiana Humanities exploring the themes of protest and pandemic with Hoosier Poets. Click here to delve into "Poetry in Our Times".

Poetry Month Celebration

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we asked Indiana's Poets Laureate to share reflections on their time in the position and their relationship with poetry. These stories reflect the different journeys of each poet, and also highlight the unique perspectives they have brought to this position.

INverse Poetry Archive

INverse celebrates and preserves the diverse range of Indiana poetry for future generations of Indiana writers and readers. It is a collaboration of former Indiana Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka, the Indiana State Library and the Indiana Arts Commission. Residents of Indiana are encouraged to submit poems to the archive annually between February 1 and April 30. Click here for more information about the archive.

Former Poets Laureate

Please note: In 2012 the Indiana Poet Laureate started serving a calendar year, two-year term.  

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