State Poet Laureate

In 1959, Maryland established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Grace Cavalieri, appointed in 2018, who will serve a four-year term. Cavalieri is the author of several poetry collections, including Other Voices, Other Lives (Alan Squire Publishing, 2017).

City and County Poets Laureate 


In 2019, Francis Smith became the poet laureate of Emmitsburg, Maryland. Smith will serve a two-year term.


In 2019, Nancy Mitchell was appointed poet laureate of Salisbury, Maryland. 

Takoma Park 

In 2022, Taylor Johnson was appointed poet laureate of Takoma Park. Johnson will serve a three-year term. 

recent & featured listings

Maryland poet laureaute
Grace Cavalieri

Grace Cavalieri received a BS in Education from New Jersey College and an MA in creative writing from Goddard University. The author of over forty books of poetry and plays, including most recently What The Psychic Said (Goss publications, 2020) and Other Voices, Other Lives (Alan Squire Publishing, 2017).

Grace holds The Associated Writing Program’s George Garrett Award, as well as the Pen-Fiction, the Allen Ginsberg, Bordighera Poetry, and Paterson Poetry awards, the “Annie” Award, The inaugural Folger Shakespeare Library Columbia Award, The National Award from The Commission On Working Women, and The CPB Silver Medal.

She founded and produces “the Poet and the Poem” for public radio, now from the Library of Congress. In 2019, she was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Cavalieri currently serves as the tenth poet laureate of Maryland.

Grace Cavalieri

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The Burdens of All

We may sigh o'er the heavy burdens
   Of the black, the brown and white;
But if we all clasped hands together
   The burdens would be more light.
How to solve life's saddest problems,
   Its weariness, want and woe,
Was answered by One who suffered
   In Palestine long ago.

He gave from his heart this precept,
   To ease the burdens of men,
"As ye would that others do to you
   Do ye even so to them."
Life's heavy, wearisome burdens
   Will change to a gracious trust
When men shall learn in the light of God
   To be merciful and just.

Where war has sharpened his weapons,
   And slavery masterful had,
Let white and black and brown unite
   To build the kingdom of God.
And never attempt in madness
   To build a kingdom or state,
Through greed of gold or lust of power,
   On the crumbling stones of hate.

The burdens will always he heavy,
   The sunshine fade into night,
Till mercy and justice shall cement
   The black, the brown and the white.
And earth shall answer with gladness,
   The herald angel's refrain,
When "Peace on earth, good will to men"
   Was the burden of their strain.

Signing the Pledge

To comfort hearts that sigh and break,
   To dry the falling tear,
Wilt thou forego the music sweet
   Entrancing now thy ear?
I must return, I firmly said,
   The strugglers in that sea
Shall not reach out beseeching hands
   In vain for help to me.
I turned to go; but as I turned
   The gloomy sea grew bright,
And from my heart there seemed to flow
   Ten thousand cords of light.
And sin-wrecked men, with eager hands
   Did grasp each golden cord;
And with my heart I drew them on
   To see my gracious Lord.
Again I stood beside the gate.
   My heart was glad and free;
For with me stood a rescued throng
   The Lord had given me.

Do Not Cheer, Men are Dying

 "Do not cheer, for men are dying," said Capt. Phillips in the Spanish-American War
Do not cheer, for men are dying
   From their distant homes in pain;
And the restless sea is darkened
   By a flood of crimson rain.
Do not cheer, for anxious mothers
   Wait and watch in lonely dread;
Vainly waiting for the footsteps
   Never more their paths to tread.
Do not cheer, while little children
   Gather round the widowed wife,
Wondering why an unknown people
   Sought their own dear father's life.
Do not cheer, for aged fathers
   Bend above their staves and weep,
While the ocean sings the requiem
   Where their fallen children sleep.
Do not cheer, for lips are paling
   On which lay the mother's kiss;
'Mid the dreadful roar of battle
   How that mother's hand they miss!
Do not cheer: once joyous maidens,
   Who the mazy dance did tread,
Bow their heads in bitter anguish,
   Mourning o'er their cherished dead.
Do not cheer while maid and matron
   In this strife must bear a part;
While the blow that strikes a soldier
   Reaches to some woman's heart.
Do not cheer till arbitration
   O'er the nations holds its sway,
And the century now closing
   Ushers in a brighter day.
Do not cheer until the nation
   Shall more wise and thoughtful grow
Than to staunch a stream of sorrow
   By an avalanche of woe.
Do not cheer until each nation
   Sheathes the sword and blunts the spear,
And we sing aloud for gladness:
   Lo, the reign of Christ is here,
And the banners of destruction
   From the battlefield are furled,
And the peace of God descending
   Rests upon a restless world.