Utah's New Poet Laureate

A Brigham Young University Professor is taking on a new role. Last week, Governor Gary Herbert appointed Lance Larsen to serve as Utah’s new Poet Laureate. Larsen will act as the leading public advocate for the literary arts in Utah.

Larsen didn’t develop a love for poetry and the arts until later in life when he took a creative writing class. It was then Lance Larsen began writing poetry, and is now awaiting the publication of his fourth collection of poems.

“I am not a genre snob. There are some poets who look down there nose at anyone who writes in prose. I also write memoir and personal essay. I love fiction, I haven’t written much of it, but I teach a course in the short story. I think the poet laureate can be an advocate for all the literary arts.”

Being an advocate is exactly what Larsen hopes to do. His term will span 5 years and it’s all volunteer. During that time he will speak at community groups, arts organizations, and schools across the state bringing poetry and literature to Utahns.

Governor Gary Herbert announced Larsen’s new role during his annual Leadership in the Arts Awards where he explained just how important the arts are in the community.

“We have 42,000 people in Utah that get there livelihood in some form or fashion from the arts and we contribute about 140 plus million dollars into our economy because of the arts...so it’s a big part of our economy, it’s a sector that we’re doing well in.”

Utah established the Poet Laureate program in 1997. Larsen is the 5th person to take on the position.