PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you’ve ever wanted to be Rhode Island’s official state poet, now’s your chance.

Gov. Dan McKee said the state is searching for a local muse to fill the position, which was first created in 1987. The state poet is typically responsible for writing the governor’s inaugural poem, and attending government functions and celebrations.

The state poet would be appointed for five years and receive a $1,000 annual stipend. The final selection for the role will be based partially on recommendations submitted by the R.I. State Council on the Arts (RISCA).

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Those interested in applying for the role must be Rhode Island residents over the age of 18. Any applicant must also be a “practicing poet,” according to the RISCA.

The RISCA defines a “practicing poet” as someone who has sought poetry learning or training from “any source,” which isn’t limited to formal education. Applicants must must be committed and serious about the art and willing to rely on it for at least some of their income.

“We expect to provide a diverse and strong field of recommendations to the governor,” RISCA Executive Director Lynne McCormack said. “We are looking for a state poet who will build appreciation of and participation in poetry and literary activities among the state’s residents.”

Rhode Island has had six state poets in the position’s history:

  • Michael Harper (1988-1994)
  • C.D. Wright (1994-1999)
  • Thomas Chandler (1999-2006)
  • Lisa Starr (2007-2012)
  • Rick Benjamin (2013-2015)
  • Tina Cane (2016-2023)

Applications must be submitted online before the Aug. 21 deadline.