Monday, April 26, 2021
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's new poet laureate is a professor and published author.
Gov. Tate Reeves and his wife, Elee, named Catherine Pierce of Starkville to the literary post for the next four years.
“We are confident Dr. Pierce will continue to foster a love of poetry and literature throughout Mississippi,” the governor said Thursday in a Mississippi Arts Commission news release.
Pierce is a Delaware native who joined the Mississippi State University faculty in 2007. She is co-director of the university's creative writing program and has published four books of poetry.
“I’ve long counted myself tremendously lucky to be a part of Mississippi’s dynamic community of writers and artists and citizens, and I am so looking forward to continuing to connect with people across our state, to working with our excellent arts and literary organizations and our incredible educators, and to helping amplify the voices of Mississippians," Pierce said in the release.
The commission said the poet laureate creates and reads poetry at state occasions, promotes literacy and represents the state's cultural heritage.
“Catherine Pierce has crafted an amazing body of work and has earned the impressive accolades one might expect of a poet laureate, but what makes her so compelling as Mississippi’s next poet laureate is her ideal that poetry should be accessible for everyone,” commission director Sarah Story said.
Pierce succeeds Beth Ann Fennelly, of Oxford, as Mississippi poet laureate.