Poet Laureate

Welcome to Poet Laureate of Virginia Information Page

Included in this Page:

Poet Laureate of Virginia, (2012-2014)
Past Poets Laureate of Virginia

Four Poets Laureate of Virginia: A Teaching Guide Book
PSV Guidelines and Procedures for Poet Laureate Nominations

Current Poet Laureate 2014:  Ron Smith

Ron Smith appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia

A celebrated St. Christopher’s School faculty member for 42 years, Mr. Smith served as chair of the English Department for 21 years and currently holds the George O. Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching. Mr. Smith holds degrees in English, philosophy, and humanities from the University of Richmond and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. He studied British drama at Oxford University, writing at Bennington College, and Renaissance and modernist culture at the Ezra Pound Center for Literature in Merano, Italy. He has taught courses at the University of Richmond, VCU, and the University of Mary Washington.

Mr. Smith is the author of three books of poetry, Its Ghostly Workshop (2013), Moon Road: Poems 1986-2005 (2007), and Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery (1988). He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize in 2005, Southern Poetry Review’s Guy Owen Prize, and Poetry Northwest’s Theodore Roethke Prize.

Mr. Smith’s work has been published in a number of national and international publications, including The Nation, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, College English, Shenandoah, Kansas Quarterly, The Tampa Review, Blackbird, Plume, Puerto del Sol, and Verse.

“St. Christopher’s is so fortunate to have faculty of Ron Smith’s caliber,” said Headmaster Charley Stillwell. “He is certainly deserving of this recognition. His extraordinary talent has been a gift to generations of students. Known not only for his acclaimed writing, Mr. Smith is held in high esteem by alumni of all ages for his ability to engage students, foster a love of language, and form lasting, meaningful relationships.”

Interview with Style Weekly: CLICK HERE

LSU News

Poets Laureate of Virginia

Sofia M. Starnes
2012 - 2014
Kelly Cherry
2010 - 2012
Claudia Emerson
2008 - 2010

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda
2006 - 2008
Rita Dove
2004 - 2006
George Garrett
2002 - 2004
Grace Simpson
2000 - 2002
Joseph Awad
1998 - 2000
Margaret Ward Moreland
Kathryn Forrester Thro
Ruby Altizer Roberts
Guy Carleton Drewry
Ruby Altizer Roberts
Leigh Buckner Hanes
Thomas Lomax Hunter
Charles Day
Carter Warner Wormeley

Special Project by Four Poets Laureate of Virginia

poet laureate - four

Title: Four Virginia Poets Laureate: A Teaching Guide
Editors: Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda and Edward W. Lull


Four Poets Laureates of Virginia,
George Garrett (2002-2004), Grace Simpson (2000-2002),
Joseph Awad 1998-2000), and Margaret Ward Morland (1996-1998)
rewarded the audience with a memorable evening of poetry.

Price: $10.95 + $2.75 S&H
A DVD of the performance
is available for $15.00.

For purchase information:
visit the store


PSV Guidelines and Procedures for Poet Laureate Nominations


The president of the Poetry Society of Virginia will appoint a committee to make recommendations and to assist him/her in the task of preparing nominations for the governor.   The committee will be appointed a year before the nomination is required.

The committee will consist of at least three members, including the chairman.  Following approved criteria, committee members will invite, in writing, suggestions from three to six persons outside the society who are in positions to make knowledgeable recommendations, and whose opinions would be generally respected.  One of these persons will be the executive director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

The following criteria will be observed in making recommendations of laureate candidates:

The poet must be a resident of Virginia and have resided here at least ten years.  The poet must be published in literary journals and have had at least one book of poems published.  Honors and awards received for his or her poetry should be taken into account.  The poet must be physically able and willing to make at least some requested appearances during the laureateship.  The poet need not be a teacher or a member of the PSV.

At the February Executive Committee meeting of the Poetry Society, the laureate committee, based on its own considerations and those of persons outside the society who have responded, will propose three to six names to the executive committee.  All members of the executive committee will have the opportunity to propose names.  Then the executive committee will vote to select six names to be placed before the membership in the March newsletter.  On the newsletter ballot there will be a space for write-in votes.  Members will be given a deadline of April 1 to get their ballots in to the committee.

The president of the society will recommend the three to six names receiving the most votes in a letter to the governor, in the order of preference.  Before the letter is drafted the society will check with the poets regarding their willingness to serve if appointed and to request a biographical note and samples of their work to attach to the letter.