Lance Larsen

Lance Larsen, Utah’s Poet Laureate, will be speaking at the Grand County Public Library on Wednesday, Dec. 18. The evening is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Moab Poets and Writers, which is dedicated to fostering creative writing.

Utah initiated its Poet Laureate program in 1997. The Poet Laureate is a Governor-appointed advocate for literature and the arts throughout the state. The Poet Laureate conducts readings at public events and in venues including libraries, universities, schools, etc.

Larsen has published four collections of his poetry. “Genus Loci” was published this year by the University of Tampa Press. His earlier collections include “Backyard Alchemy” (2009); “In All Their Animal Brilliance” (2005); and “Erasable Walls” (1998).

Larsen’s work has appeared in venues like “Georgia Review,” “Southern Review,” “Ploughshares,” “Poetry,” “River Styx,” “Orion,” “The Pushcart Prize Anthology,” “Best American Poetry 2009,” and “Poetry Daily.”

He is now working on “Seventeen Ways to Float,” a collection of essays about place, family, and memory which won first place in the 2011 Utah Original Writing Competition.

Larsen grew up in Idaho and Colorado and lived in Chile for two years while serving an LDS mission. He sometimes collaborates with his wife, Jacqui Biggs Larsen, a painter and multimedia artist.

He has taught literature and creative writing at BYU since 1993, where he currently serves as associate chair. He and and his wife recently directed a study-abroad program in Madrid. In 2012, he was named to a five-year term as Utah Poet Laureate by Gov. Gary Herbert.

Jean Irwin from the state’s division of arts and museums said that a committee of other poets from around the state will select candidates to be considered for the poet laureate position.

“The last panel had about eight or nine poets,” she said.

The committee looks for poets who have at least three volumes of poetry published and a “pretty significant reputation,” Irwin said. They also look for recognition, such as such as awards and fellowships.

Larsen was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment of Arts.

“It’s not a requirement,” Irwin said. “ But the committee is looking to see how the poet is perceived by the field.”

The committee then selects three candidates for the governor to consider.

Moab Poets and Writers have been active since 1997. Their mission is to foster fiction and nonfiction poetry and prose by promoting the literary arts as a resource for community involvement.

“You do not have to be a published writer to participate,” said Marcy Hafner. “We welcome anyone with the spirit and desire to explore our world through language.”

The group sponsors open mics, an evening of poetry and conversations and writing workshops.

“It is very exciting for us that Lance Larsen is coming to town to present a special program on poetry,” Hafner said. “This rare event is open to the public with the opportunity to hear him recite his poetry in person.”

Lance Larsen to conduct reading at Moab Poets and Writers evening

“This rare event is open to the public with that opportunity to hear him recite his poetry in person.”

When: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18

Where: Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St.

For more information: Call 435-259-1111