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About the Program


Delaware’s Poet Laureate is an honorary position appointed by, and serving at the pleasure of, the Governor. The Poet Laureate serves as an advocate, educator, and presenter of poetry throughout the state.

The Delaware Division of the Arts promotes the Poet Laureate’s events and activities and manages the Poet Laureate’s calendar of appearances. The Division also provides a stipend to the Poet Laureate for appearances at nonprofit organizations.


  • Promoting the importance of poetry and the literary arts as part of Delaware’s cultural heritage
  • Speaking at such official state functions as the opening of state legislative sessions, the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, conferences, and public ceremonies
  • Presenting readings and poetry discussions in educational settings and community events across the state
  • Developing poetry programming and presentation opportunities in collaboration with the Division of the Arts to support the Division’s program goals



Delaware General Assembly passes a resolution authorizing an annual appointment by the Governor of a Poet Laureate for the State of Delaware. No specific duties were assigned to the position at that time.


An act to create the honorary office of Poet Laureate for the State of Delaware was passed by the General Assembly. The act authorized the Governor to appoint an individual to serve a two-year term and perform duties as requested by the Governor.


The 1964 act authorizes the Governor to appoint the Poet Laureate for a two-year term, performing duties as requested by the Governor and the Secretary of State.


A new bill passed in June to replace the two-year term limit of service with an open-ended, honorary position that serves at the pleasure of the Governor.


Since 1947, the State of Delaware has had sixteen (16) Poets Laureate.


Previous Delaware Poets Laureate

Poets LaureateAppointed by GovernorTerm of Service
Edna Deemer Leach, WilmingtonWalter W. Bacon1947 – 1949
Jeannette Slocomb Edwards, WilmingtonElbert N. Carvel1950 – 1954
Frances Shannon Flowers McNeal, NewarkCaleb Boggs1954 – 1955
Katherine King Johnson, DoverCaleb Boggs1955 – 1956
David Hudson, WilmingtonCaleb Boggs1956 – 1960
Alison Kimball Bradford, WilmingtonDavid P. Buckson1961 – 1962
Marguerite Eleanor Weaver, WilmingtonElbert N. Carvel1962 – 1963
Mother M. Aloysius Peach, O.S.U., WilmingtonElbert N. Carvel1963 – 1965
Dr. Percival Rudolph Roberts, III, NewarkCharles L. Terry, Jr.1965 – 1966
Joyce M. Carlson, WilmingtonCharles L. Terry, Jr.1967 – 1968
Antonia Bissell Laird, WilmingtonCharles L. Terry, Jr.1969 – 1970
Dr. Harry O. Eisenberg, New CastleRussell W. Peterson1971 – 1975
David Hudson, WilmingtonSherman W. Tribbitt1975 – 1979
Jean Lanyon, WilmingtonPierre S. duPont IV1979 – 1981*
Dr. Fleda Brown, NewarkRuth Ann Minner2001 – 2007
Dr. JoAnn Balingit, NewarkRuth Ann Minner2008 – 2015
Rep. Nnamdi Chukwuocha & Albert Mills, WilmingtonJack A. Markell2015 – Present

*There were no Poets Laureate appointed from 1981 – 2001.

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Division of the Arts

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Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street,
     4th Floor
     Wilmington, DE 19801
  302.577.8278  | 
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