Freeman bill to create state poet laureate passes PA House

HARRISBURG, June 28 – Pennsylvania would have an official Poet Laureate under legislation that passed the state House of Representatives today, according to the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Robert Freeman. 

“Poetry is a literary art form widely celebrated by the United States and 47 states by designating an official poet laureate. Gov. Robert Casey appointed Samuel Hazo as Pennsylvania Poet Laureate in 1993 but the position has since been effectively terminated,” said Freeman, D-Northampton. 

“Many local governments in the commonwealth, including Philadelphia, York, and Erie County honor their local poets by designating them poet laureates. Through creating the position of Pennsylvania Poet Laureate, we would recognize important contemporary contributors to the literary arts and promote our commonwealth’s cultural heritage.” 

Freeman’s legislation (H.B. 2308) would create the official position of Pennsylvania Poet Laureate and establish a selection process where a committee would send a list of nominees to the governor to make a final decision. 

The Pennsylvania Poet Laureate, an unpaid position, would serve at official functions, such as reading a poem at the governor’s inauguration. 

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

Information provided to TVL by:
Tom Andrews
House Democratic Communications Office