Two Women Faculty Members Named Poet Laureates of Their States

Catherine Pierce, a professor of English at Mississippi State University in Starkville, was named poet laureate of the state of Mississippi. Professor Pierce is also co-director of the creative writing program at Mississippi State Univerity. Originally from Delaware, Pierce made her home in Mississippi in 2007 when she joined the faculty at Mississippi State University. Professor Pierce has published four books of poems and a chapbook. Her latest poetry collection is Danger Days ( Saturnalia, 2020).

“I am honored and genuinely thrilled to have been named the next Poet Laureate of Mississippi, and to have the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for poetry and the literary arts,” Professor Pierce said. “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.”

Dr. Pierce received a bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. She earned a master of fine arts degree from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

Crystal Wilkerson, a professor of English at the University of Kentucky, has been appointed poet laureate for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She is the first African American woman to hold the position. Professor Wilkerson is the author of The Birds of Opulence (University of Kentucky Press, 2016), winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence.

“It feels glorious to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate. It feels like a validation of my life’s work. I feel very proud as a woman of letters in the state. When I looked at the list, it’s wonderful to be a part of that legacy,” Professor Wilkerson said.

A native of Hamilton, Ohio, Wilkerson grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Indian Creek, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where she majored in journalism. Professor Wilkerson holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Spaulding University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Filed Under: News


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply