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Longtime Illinois Poet Laureate to step down

Wednesday, Sep 13, 2017

* Press release…

Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein has announced he is stepping away from the position effective Dec. 1, 2017.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as Illinois Poet Laureate,” said Stein, a Caterpillar Professor of English at Bradley University in Peoria. “It has been an honor, as well as a challenge, proffering surprising rewards. The role not only deepened my understanding of poetry’s sustaining gifts but also enriched my appreciation of our state’s diverse citizenry ranging from Chicago to Cairo, Decatur to Moline, and all locales in between.”

Appointed in December 2003, Stein engaged the state’s residents through nearly 250 presentations, poetry readings, school visits and judging activities. One of Stein’s most notable endeavors was the Poetry Now project, in which he presented his work at more than 5o libraries in Illinois and donated funds to these libraries for the purchase of collections written by Illinois poets.

Stein collaborated with Secretary of State Jesse White, the Illinois State Library, and the Center for the Book to fund and cosponsor the Gwendolyn Brooks Emerging Poets Contest for 13 years. Several winners from that contest have since gone on to publish full-length collections of verse. Stein is a teacher and advocate for poetry, as is demonstrated through his time as Illinois Poet Laureate.

Gov. Bruce Rauner will establish a search committee to initiate the laureate selection process. The new Illinois Poet Laureate will be announced in the coming months.

No word on whether he was forced out by Tillman and Proft. [/snark]

Replacement suggestions?

…Adding… And continuing with the snark…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Moist von Lipwig - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:36 pm:

    His poem and his performance of it were wonderful at the Quinn portrait unveiling. A very solemn, beautiful rendition.


  2. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    Chance the Rapper. No snark.


  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:42 pm:

    I believe Fate is the new poet laureate of the Rauner administration.


  4. - Anonymous Hipster - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:42 pm:

    == Chance the Rapper. No snark. ==

    Oh great so his head can get even bigger? He peaked with Acid Rap. “Angels” was his last decent single. Now that he’s finally living up to his father’s expectations, all of the statehouse types are taking notice, just in time for his musical career to fade into the obscurity of preachy, uninspired songs.

    How about an actual literary figure and not a self-promoting hack?


  5. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    Someone who has a lot of ideas for phrases that rhyme with “right to work”


  6. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    “Replacement suggestions?”

    I’ve heard big things about a man from Nantucket…

    – MrJM


  7. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    – Someone who has a lot of ideas for phrases that rhyme with “right to work” –

    Jeannie Ives twerk


  8. - Tommydanger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    I confess my ignorance for all to see
    Shame and scorn cascades down upon me
    For I did not know we had a poet laureate
    But now you know I am an idiot

    (unless of course you already knew that)


  9. - The Captain - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:51 pm:

    The IPI cartoonist is the obvious choice.


  10. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:56 pm:

    How about nobody? Do we really need this position, even if it is mostly honorary?


  11. - Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:59 pm:

    strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.


  12. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    There’s a poet in the alley, his name is Tommy Tucker…


  13. - Swift - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:06 pm:

    Why has the state not been touting that we have a caterpillar that is a poet and a professor? I know Rauner’s press office has had some turnover, but this caterpillar poet needs more publicity, sigh, just another sign we are living in a failed state.


  14. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:12 pm:

    Swift- It is an actual title.

    https://www.bradley.edu/academic/galleryofexcellence/caterpillar/


  15. - Dome Gnome - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:13 pm:

    Would love to get Radical Candor into the position.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:18 pm:

    I can’t get enough of @RadicalCandorIL

    To the Post,

    If Rauner can find the Deputy Poet Laureate from Wisconsin or Indiana, boy, that would really be a coup.


  17. - Swift - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:20 pm:

    Just great Anon221, now the Japanese and Amazon know we don’t really have a caterpillar poet, way to flush the state’s economic future down the toilet…now how are we going to attract business investment in the state? Right to work? Property tax cuts? Worker’s Comp reform? Those will never get enacted, so all we had left was our caterpillar poet.


  18. - Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    Two problems one stone

    Name Jeff Bezos


  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:49 pm:

    Be poetic about it not “failed” state, but enfeebled


  20. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:52 pm:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Bruce Rauner is a failed Governor who has zero accomplishments and
    “Anonymous Hipster” should comb out his man bun and get his skinny jeans washed and tightened too.


  21. - Anonymous Hipster - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 5:38 pm:

    -47th Ward- I lol’d.

    Man buns are out. All about the topknot these days.


  22. - Moist von Lipwig - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 6:13 pm:

    @Anonymous Hipster: I get it, he’s not your type. But he’s a hometown boy made good, and inspiring a generation of young people in the city - mostly of color. You should have gone to the Billiken Parade this year — if you were there, you’d see that he’s doing a lot of good.


  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 6:38 pm:

    –Gov. Bruce Rauner will establish a search committee to initiate the laureate selection process.–

    Remember, one for show, then the real one stashed on contract in an agency.

    Two of everyting, like Noah.


  24. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 9:44 pm:

    I think Marc Smith, founder of the Poetry Slam Movement, is probably the most influential poet living in America today, and he happens to be a proud Chicagoan.

    Here he is in action:

    https://youtu.be/PFWJpIsEVWc


  25. - Anonymous Hipster - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 10:29 pm:

    Believe me, Moist. He’s my type. In general, I’m a fan of Chance. Have his Acid Rap tour poster on my wall. I even somewhat enjoy his less creative newer stuff. Perhaps I’m just cynical in wondering if there might be some cynicism behind his good works. But I suppose the ends justify the means in this case.


  26. - Gregorio Gomez - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 10:32 pm:

    Marc Smith is good enough, but his rival Gregorio Gomez down at Weed’s Poetry at the Hideout much better encapsulates the absurd, eclectic vibe of Chicago’s literary scene.

    http://tinyurl.com/y8rav6k9


  27. - blue dog dem - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 10:46 pm:

    Like tommydanger, what the he k is a poGet laurette. Did he/she get paid by the state?


  28. - PublicServant - Thursday, Sep 14, 17 @ 6:10 am:

    I’m available:

    A wonderful bird is the Pelican.
    Its beak can hold more than its belly-can.
    Its beak can hold enough food for a week,
    and I don’t know how-in-the-helican.

    - Thank You. I’m here all week.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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