Pioneers in Poetry: Colorado’s Poet Laureate

Last week, we talked about the first state to appoint an official poet laureate- California, back in 1915. Running second place in the race to have a state representative for poetry was Colorado, who appointed their first poet laureate, Alice Polk Hill, a short four years in 1919. Since then, Colorado has had eight poets take up the honorary position for their state, and their latest one was announced early this September. Who was the lucky writer? Read on to find out!


Denver Native Named Colorado’s Poet Laureate

On September 9, Governor John Hickenlooper named Joseph Hutchison the state’s poet laureate. Though he is new the office, Hutchison has indicated that his tenure as poet laureate will be focused on encouraging a love of reading and writing poetry for Coloradans and helping young poets further develop their talents. Hutchison himself is a veteran poet; he has 15 collections already published and is a professor of creative writing at the University of Denver.

When asked by the Denver post to cite some of his earliest influences and current favorite writers, he named Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Frost, respectively. Surprisingly for a future poet, young Hutchison was intrigued mostly by Poe’s prose works, particularly “The Pit and the Pendulum.” As any avid writer would, Hutchison described himself as an avid reader who drew inspiration and motivation from his favorite works.

Nature Poetry: Drawing Inspiration 

In his interview with the Denver Post, Hutchison also noted that much of his inspiration for new pieces comes from moments he observes in everyday life, particularly in nature. Does nature inspire your writing? Well then you’re headed into the perfect season for it: autumn with its crisp air, colorful leaves, and changing light has long been a type of seasonal muse for poets. If you’re looking for a new writing project to start, take a step outside first.  Take a look around at the trees, listen to the birds, and breathe in the cool fall air. What ideas do those experiences bring to mind? Give writing about autumn a whirl, and if you like what you write, consider submitting it to our poetry contest and show your work to the world!

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