Iowa Poet Laureate Enhancement Fund

Humanities Iowa needs your help to enhance the outreach and prgramming provided by Iowa's Poet Laureate. Humaniteis Iowa understands how important your donation is and has established the Iowa Poet Laureate Enhancement Fund, which will match one dollar for every two donated up to $10,000.

At present, the position of Iowa poet laureate is strictly honorary and receives no stipend. This limits the extent of poetry outreach and advocacy that the laureate can perform. Humanities Iowa seeks gifts to support, strengthen, and extend the activities of the poet laureate. Your donation will support programs such as readings, workshops and performances in public libraries, schools, retirement communities, and hospitals, among many otherts.

Humanities Iowa welcomes gifts of all kinds and at all levels to expand the impact of hte poet laureate position in the cultural life of the state. By contributing to the Iowa Poet Laureate Enhancement Fund, you'll be recognized as a donor. You'll also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that your generosity is promoting poetry and creative writing throughout the state of Iowa.

Your tax deductible donations can be made via check and maield to Humanities Iowa, 100 Library Room 4039, Iowa City, IA 52242 or via credit card here.

The Iowa Poet Laureate

The Iowa Poet Laureate is a two-year renewable appointment sponsored by Humanities Iowa that is intended to recognize the importance of poetry in Iowans' everyday lives.

The first Poet Laureate was Marvin Bell, the University of Iowa's Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters. A National Book Award finalist, Bell is the author of 16 books of poetry. Bell's appointment as Poet Laureate came in March 2002 following his unanimous recommendation to the governor by a committee of six poetry experts from around the state.

In 2004, Robert Dana was named Iowa's second Poet Laureate. Dana, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, was a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Cornell College in Mount Vernon. Dana was reappointed to the position in 2006 and continued to serve as the voice of Iowa poetry during his term.

In 2009, Mary Swander, Professor of English at Iowa State University, was named Iowa's third Poet Laureate.


In March 2000, the National Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky (left), joined the future Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander (right) at the inaugural event announcing the establishment of the Iowa Poet Laureate position.

Meet the Iowa Poets Laureates

Mary Swanders

Current Poet Laureate, Mary Swander was selected as Iowa's third Poet Laureate in 2009, succeeding Robert Dana.

Bell and Dana

Former Cornell College "Poet in Residence" Robert Dana (right) was selected as Iowa's second Poet Laureate in 2004, succeeding Marvin Bell (left).