Illinois poet laureate hears sound of different drummer, resigning after 14 years
Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein will step down on Dec. 1 after serving in the position for 14 years and making more than 250 appearances, according to a press release.
Stein, an English professor at Bradley University in Peoria, has served the state at a range of presentations, readings and events, and helped promote fundraising and engagement to support Illinois poetry, the release said. Stein created the Poetry Now project, in which he performed at libraries throughout the state to raise money for those libraries to purchase poetry collections from Illinois authors. He also co-sponsored the Gwendolyn Brooks Emerging Poets Contest with Secretary of State Jesse White, the Illinois State Library and the Center for the Book. Stein built up the contest for 13 years, and several of the winners have gone on to publish poetry collections.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as Illinois Poet Laureate,” Stein said, according to the release. “It has been an honor, as well as a challenge, proffering surprising rewards. The role not only deepened my understanding of poetry’s sustaining gifts but also enriched my appreciation of our state’s diverse citizenry ranging from Chicago to Cairo, Decatur to Moline, and all locales in between.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner will rely on a search committee to help choose Stein's successor.