Karla Huston of Appleton, a poet with a special interest in promoting poetry for people with memory impairments, will serve as the state’s poet laureate for 2017-18, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters plans to announce Thursday.

Huston is the author of eight chapbooks of poems and a full collection of poems, titled “A Theory of Lipstick.” The collection won a prestigious Pushcart Prize in 2011 and also earned Huston an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association.

The Wisconsin native received her bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in English and creative writing from UW-Oshkosh. She began writing poetry in the mid-1990s, as she started a 15-year career teaching creative writing at Neenah High School.

Today Huston is an active member of groups promoting writing in the Fox Cities and across Wisconsin.

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As poet laureate, Huston will give readings at festivals, conferences and other events across the state for the general public. She also plans to promote the reading and writing of poetry among elderly and memory-impaired residents as part of the Memory Cafe movement, which is associated with the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, according to a statement from the Wisconsin Academy.

Huston will receive an annual $2,500 stipend and a weeklong residency at Shake Rag Alley School for Arts and Crafts in Mineral Point.

She was selected for her new position by the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, under the active stewardship of the Wisconsin Academy.

The commission includes representatives from the Academy, the Wisconsin Arts Board, Wisconsin Center for the Book, Wisconsin Humanities Council, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and the Council for Wisconsin Writers.


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