Welcome to the Arkansas Poet Laureate Website!

Peggy Caudle Vining, A Rare Jewel

Timely treasures are buried in the “time capsule” beneath City Hall in Little Rock.  Included is an award winning poem written by the late Peggy Caudle Vining, Poet Laureate of Arkansas. Vining was an often published poet and won numerous awards for her poetry, including the coveted Sybil Nash Abrams Award for her seven sonnet sequence entitled Arkansas, the Natural State.

Considered a literary gem by many, Vining was appointed Arkansas Poet Laureate by Governor Mike Huckabee in 2003 for her many contributions to the literary arts.  Though the post has no specific obligations, Vining felt that it was “important to promote within the community a greater appreciation of poetry".  Her focus was with pre-school and elementary classrooms.  “From an early age, I loved the challenge of finding words that rhymed, and I take great pleasure in giving that joy to young children.”

Since 1963, Vining was a member of Poet’s Roundtable of Arkansas (PRA) which is associated with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.  She attributed her writing success to the “wonderful poets of PRA that mentored, encouraged and inspired me to keep writing”.  Vining served as state PRA President for three separate terms.  She was director of the Ozark Creative Writers Conference, the Arkansas Writers Conference and served on the official Board of each.  She also served as state President of Arkansas Penwomen and Arkansas Songwriters Association and was a member of Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas.  Her bio is listed in Who’s Who of Editors, Writers and Poets and several other such books and anthologies.  She compiled a collection of her published works entitled “Tethered to the Moment”.

Loved and appreciated for her artistic abilities and her work with children, Vining nurtured over 6000 pre-schoolers during her teaching career.  For twenty one years, she was Instructor and Director of the UALR Children’s Center having earned a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She was a very active member at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock with a heart for missions. She never met a stranger and shared her faith to all. For many years she worked with Mission Friends and Pre-school Choir.

Married 69 years, Vining cherished her family; She was Mother of five (four daughters and one son) grandmother of 11 and great-grandmother of 14. In 1982 she was named “Arkansas Mother of the Year” by American Mothers, Inc (AMI), an organization which honors mothers and promotes the moral and spiritual foundation of the home. She served as President of the Arkansas Association of AMI for a number of years thereafter and also served on the national AMI Board of Directors. Vining was also active in many other community organizations and was honored with a ”Point of Light Award” from President Bush for her volunteer work with CARTI. In March, 2007, Vining was recognized and honored by the State of Arkansas 86th General Assembly with House Concurrent Resolution 1038. She was honored yet again with the Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for the Arts on October 21, 2008.

Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Songwriter, Poet, and Volunteer. . . Vining’s devotion to education, poetry and to the community has enriched the lives of many of us. Arkansas is fortunate indeed to have had such a jewel.

(Vining lost her battle with cancer and Alzheimer’s on November 26th 2017)