New Hampshire

State Poet Laureate

In 1967, New Hampshire established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Alexandria Peary, who was appointed to a five-year term in 2020. 



City and County Poets Laureate 

Portsmouth

In 2019, Tammi Truax was named the poet laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
 


Rochester

In 2017, Katie O'Connor became the poet laureate of Rochester, New Hampshire.

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New Hampshire poet laureaute
Alexandria Peary

Alexandria Peary was born in Dover, New Hampshire, and grew up in in central Maine. She received a BA from Colby College; MFAs from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire. Peary is the author of four volumes of poetry, including Control Bird Alt Delete (University of Iowa 2014), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, and Lid to the Shadow (Slope Editions, 2011), recipient of the Slope Editions Book Prize. Peary is also the author of a collection of creative writing pedagogy co-edited with the poet Tom C. Hunley, Creative Writing Pedagogies for the Twenty-First Century. Peary teaches at Salem State University and is the poet laureate of New Hampshire.

Read about Alexandria Peary’s 2020 Poets Laureate Fellowship project.

Alexandria Peary

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Spring in New Hampshire

Too green the springing April grass, 
Too blue the silver-speckled sky, 
For me to linger here, alas, 
While happy winds go laughing by, 
Wasting the golden hours indoors, 
Washing windows and scrubbing floors. 

Too wonderful the April night, 
Too faintly sweet the first May flowers, 
The stars too gloriously bright, 
For me to spend the evening hours, 
When fields are fresh and streams are leaping, 
Wearied, exhausted, dully sleeping.

Leave No Trace

No gate, no main entrance, no ticket, no ranger. Not far
From where Frost once raised chickens and ill-fated children, near
Where the Old Man’s glacier-hewn face though bolstered to
Its godlike roost by rods and turnbuckles slid
From our fledgling millennium into oblivion,
You can cross the Pemigewasset on a bridge
Then, compass-north but southbound on the trail,
Ascend an old grassed-over logging road
To the carved out collarbone of Cannon Mountain.

This is Lonesome Lake. How you go from here
Depends on why you’ve come: to out a spruce grouse
Or listen for the whee-ah of a Bicknell’s thrush;
For a breezy picnic or a midlife crisis,
A long haul or a day trip to the cascades.
 
Bring for your purposes only what you need:  
Salmon jerky, a canteen or Camelbak,
Band-aids, a ratchet and strap, a roughed-up heart.
Bring sunblock, a notebook, the Beatles, Beyoncé,
The Bhagavad Gita, a Bible, some Hitchens or Hegel.
       
However long you stay you must leave nothing.
No matchbox, no pole-tip, no grommet, no cup.
Carry in and out your Clif Bar wrappers,
Your fear of bears and storms. Keep the rage
You thought you’d push through your boot-soles into the stones,
The grief you hoped to shed. If you think you’ve changed,
Take all your changes with you.
                                                              If you lift
An arrowhead from the leaves, return it. Pocket
No pinecone, no pebble or faery root. Resist
The painted trillium even if its purple throat
Begs to be pressed between your trail guide’s pages.