The Maine Arts Commission has announced today that the State will be selecting a new Poet Laureate to succeed Wesley McNair, who has held the position since 2011.

The State Poet Laureate is appointed for a five-year term and may be reappointed for a second consecutive term. Submissions from interested Maine poets will be accepted through Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Maine’s Poet Laureate position is an appointment designed to promote poetry throughout the state, while honoring an eminent Maine poet for his or her achievements. The position was established by Maine statute in 1995. The specific duties of the Poet Laureate are minimal, to ensure incumbents have maximum freedom to work on their own projects during their tenure, and include an annual lecture and reading of his or her poetry; participation in the Maine Arts Commission’s administration of the national Poetry Out Loud project; and appearances and events to broaden appreciation and understanding of, and participation in, poetry in Maine communities.

Each Poet Laureate brings a different emphasis to the position. McNair’s public projects to date have included a public address each Poetry Day and “Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry,” a weekly newspaper column, both in collaboration with the Maine State Library and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance; and the Maine Poetry Express initiative. To learn more about these programs, visit maine.gov/msl/poetry.

McNair is the state’s fourth poet laureate. His predecessors include Kate Barnes (1996-1999), Baron Wormser (2000-2005), and Betsy Sholl (2006-2011). To be considered for this appointment, poets must be full-time Maine residents and have a distinguished body of poetic work.

Applying involves submitting up to five poems, totaling no more than 10 pages, as well as a one-page statement outlining one’s vision for his or her public role as Poet Laureate and a copy of one’s resume no later than Dec. 22 to Julie Richard, Executive Director, Maine Arts Commission, at Julie.richard@maine.gov. Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed. For more information, visit mainearts.com or call 287-2724.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.