The Arkansas Poet Laureate position was established October 10, 1923, with the passing of concurrent resolutions by both houses of the Arkansas legislature. House Concurrent Resolution Number 17 (March 28, 1953) installed Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni as state poet laureate. Upon Marioni's death, Ercil Brown served as interim Laureate until Lily Peter's appointment on October 6, 1971. Peter was the first person designated poet laureate under Act 90 (passed February 15, 1971), which authorized the governor to appoint the poet laureate.1 The official position of Poet Laureate is codified in Sec. 1-4-114 of the Arkansas Code, the full text of which follows:

1-4-114. Poet laureate
(a) The Governor is authorized to designate or appoint, by proclamation, a Poet Laureate of the State of Arkansas, which shall be an honorary title in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and contributions in poetry by a person who is a resident of the State of Arkansas.
(b) The person designated or appointed by the Governor as Poet Laureate of the State of Arkansas shall be a person whose name was selected from a list of names submitted to the Governor upon recommendation of a committee consisting of the principal heads of the English departments of all state-supported universities and colleges.

History. Acts 1971, No. 90, 1; A.S.A. 1947, 5-111.1

Previous Poet Laureates of Arkansas

Charles T. Davis
1923 - 1945

Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni
1953 - 1970


Ercil Brown, Interim Appointee
1970 - 1971

Lily Peter
1971 - 1991

Lily Peter

Verna Lee Hinegardner
1991 - 2003

Verna Lee Hinegardner