Knoxville is seeking nominations for its third Poet Laureate.


If you know a local poet whose art inspires you, please submit his or her name. An Arts & Culture Alliance committee will review the works of all the nominees and then forward its choice to Mayor Indya Kincannon, who will make the final appointment.


From James Agee to Nikki Giovanni to Cormac McCarthy, Knoxville has produced and influenced an impressive string of nationally-acclaimed writers and poets.


The City’s Poet Laureate position was created in 2016 to commemorate the City’s 225th anniversary. Writer, musician and playwright R.B. Morris – whose poetry often reflects on East Tennessee culture and history – served as Knoxville’s first Poet Laureate through 2018. He was succeeded by Marilyn Kallet, a prolific and acclaimed poet and professor in the University of Tennessee’s English Department, where for years she was the director of the Creative Writing Program.


Each Poet Laureate will serve for one year with an optional one-year renewal, to be paid a $3,000 annual honorarium.


A poet who has served as Poet Laureate may not be renominated, nor can poets self-nominate. Nominees must be legal residents of Knoxville or work in Knoxville, be 18 years old or older, and have had at least one book of poetry published (or an equivalent body of work).


Visit for full details about the program, to access a nomination form or to enjoy the published workers of Poet Laureates Morris and Kallet.


The deadline for nominations to be received is Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Submit nominations to:


Arts & Culture Alliance

Attention: Liza Zenni, Executive Director

100 S. Gay St., Suite 201

Knoxville TN 37902