Utah initiated its Poet Laureate program in 1997. The Poet Laureate is a Governor-appointed advocate for literature and the arts throughout the state. The Poet Laureate is available for readings at public events and in venues including libraries, universities, schools, etc.
Lance Larsen’s fourth collection of poems, Genius Loci, will be published in late 2012 by University of Tampa Press. His earlier collections include Backyard Alchemy (2009), In All Their Animal Brilliance (2005), and Erasable Walls (1998). He holds a PhD from the University of Houston. His work appears widely, in such venues as Georgia Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, River Styx, Orion, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Best American Poetry 2009, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. His nonfiction has twice made the Notable Essay list in Best American Essays. He is currently working on Seventeen Ways to Float, a collection of essays about place, family, and memory which won 1st place in the 2011 Utah Original Writing Competition. He grew up in Idaho and Colorado and lived in Chile for two years while serving an LDS mission. He collects antiques, plays basketball, occasionally walks on his hands, grows daylilies, hikes, and loves Indian and Thai food. He sometimes collaborates with his wife, Jacqui Biggs Larsen, a painter and multi-media artist. Since 1993 he has taught literature and creative writing at BYU, where he currently serves as associate chair. He and Jacqui recently directed a study abroad program in Madrid. In 2012, he was named to a five-year term as Utah Poet Laureate.
Shortly after being selected in May 2012, Lance Larsen talked with then-Literary Arts Specialist David Pace about his role as Utah's Poet Laureate.
To request a reading or attendance at an event as State Poet Laureate, please submit the appearance request form via email to Jean Irwin or fax to 801.533.4202. Requests are honored based on the nature of the request and the availability of the Poet Laureate.
In 2009, then-Utah Poet Laureate Katharine Coles launched the Bite Size Poems Project. The goal of the project is to put a bite sized poem (one that can be read aloud in one minute or less) in front of every Utahn every month. Eighteen of Utah's finest poets have contributed their bite size poems and have recorded them on video. Each month a different poem is featured and sent out as an email blast, streamed as a video file from web sites at NowPlayingUtah.com and KUER-FM.
Due to the popularity of our “Bite-Size Poet of the Month” segment, we have decided to carry out the project for a second time. Through this project, short poems by Utah poets - you and your peers - could be integrated into the daily lives of people throughout Utah. Bite Sized 2.0 incorporates home-grown poetry into Utah's cyberspace.