Poet and professor Diane Raptosh is quoted in a New York Times article about the state of poet laureates across the nation. The article “Is Poetry Dead? Not if 45 Official Laureates Are Any Indication,” was sparked by the resignation of North Carolina’s poet laureate Valerie Macon, who is a self-published writer with only two books to her credit. Her appointment was seen as an insult to the position, which the conservative Gov. Pat McCrory may seek to abolish.
Raptosh tells a great anecdote about giving a poetry reading on a moving school bus as if she were a theme park tour guide.
In 2013, Raptosh served as the Boise City Poet Laureate during the sesquicentennial celebration year. She wrote three poems that marked the occasion, and she gave readings and workshops as part of her appointment. She teaches poetry in the English department at College of Idaho in Nampa, and her “American Amnesiac” (Etruscan Press) was on the National Book Award Longlist for poetry in 2013.
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Idaho does not have an official poet laureate. However, Raptosh also is Idaho’s Writer in Residence, a two-year appointment of a writer who travels the state to give readings and workshops to promote literature. It just happens that Raptosh is a poet. Boise's poetry community has blossomed since Boise State University created a master's program in creative writing. Its MFA Reading series has brought many nationally recognized poets to Boise and created a rich pool of poets locally.
Terri Schorzman, director of the Boise Department of Arts and History, created the laureate position specifically for the city’s 150th celebration, and she's exploring whether the city can continue to support the position.