The new poet laureate of the United States is Joy Harjo. Read a Q&A with Harjo about her laureateship.

The poet laureate of the United States is appointed annually by the Librarian of Congress. Over the course of the one-year term, which lasts from September to May, the U.S. poet laureate presents a reading and lecture at the Library of Congress and often engages in a community-oriented poetry project with national reach.

This position was originated in 1936 by a philanthropist named Archer M. Huntington, who endowed “a chair of Poetry of the English language in the Library of Congress.” The following year, Joseph Auslander became the first “Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.” He served in this role until 1941, when Archibald MacLeish, the Librarian of Congress at the time, instituted a one-year term for the consultantship and appointed Allen Tate as Auslander’s successor.

Poets in this position were called “Consultants in Poetry” through 1986, when the title was officially changed to that of “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.” Since 1950, many poets laureate have also been appointed to serve a second term. (You can find more information about the poet laureateship and former poets laureate at the Library of Congress.)

U.S. Poet Laureate

Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships

Beyond the national poet laureateship, there are also numerous poet laureate positions on the state and local levels—including in all but five states, as well as many cities, counties, U.S. territories, and tribal nations.

In 2019, the Academy of American Poets announced the first-ever Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships, granting a combined $1,050,000 to poets laureate of states, cities, and counties across the United States in recognition of their literary merit and support of their civic programs.