Max Garland, a longtime mail carrier turned English professor, has been selected the Wisconsin poet laureate for 2013-14.
Garland, who teaches at UW-Eau Claire, was a first-generation college student when he earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa in 1989. His first poetry collection, "The Postal Confessions," won the prestigious Juniper Prize for Poetry, and his second book, "Hunger Wide as Heaven," earned national honors from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center.
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Praising his poetry for its "richness of language, human understanding and accessibility to broad audiences," the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission selected Garland to succeed Bruce Dethlefsen of Westfield, the state's fourth poet laureate. The commission also named Karla Huston, Appleton, and B.J. Best, West Bend, as finalists.
Garland, now charged with promoting poetry across the state, will receive $2,000 and two weeklong residencies at Shake Rag Alley School for Arts and Crafts in Mineral Point. The poet laureate position, eliminated from the governor's office in early 2011, is now supported by the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission under the stewardship of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.
For more on Garland, see wisconsinacademy.org/poetlaureate.