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Governor Appoints Poet Laureate


The following news release was issued today by the Utah Department of Community and Culture and its Utah Arts Council, announcing Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s appointment of Kate Coles, an associate professor of English at the University of Utah, to a five-year term as Utah’s State Poet Laureate.



— Katharine Coles, associate professor of English — home office (801) 521-7798, office (801) 581-7868,
— Claudia Nakano, communications director, Utah Department of Community and Culture — (801) 538-8805

Governor Appoints Poet Laureate

Oct. 27, 2006 – Today, Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., named Katharine Coles as Utah’s new State Poet Laureate. Coles, an associate professor of English at the University of Utah, has published two novels and three collections of poetry. Her poems and short stories have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Coles has a long history of professional and community service, and has received several awards for her work. Her most recent collection of poems, “Fault,” will be published (Red Hen Press) in 2008.

“Katharine’s literary achievements and community service in teaching and writing, are a tremendous asset as she helps bring poetry and the literary arts to the people of Utah,” said Governor Huntsman. “The arts are an essential element to investing in Utah’s future. We are grateful to Katharine for her representation of Utah’s fine artists.”

Coles will serve a five-year term of office and act as the leading public advocate for the literary arts in Utah. Community groups, arts organizations and educators are welcome to invite the Poet Laureate to speak at events throughout the state.

The Utah Arts Council also announced its long-range plan for the arts in Utah emphasizing the importance of arts education for children and the establishment of a creative communities initiative. Through a series of community listening tours, interviews and town hall meetings, the Arts Council learned that improving arts education is a priority for residents throughout Utah.

“In order to claim our creative future, we must improve early exposure and access to the arts for Utah’s children. Our fast changing world demands a fresh approach to the use of innovative technologies and the development of creative minds,” said Margaret Hunt, Arts Council director. “Arts education provides children the means to communicate, express their ideas and passions, share their stories, and develop their creativity. The development of creativity and creative thinking is imperative to positioning Utah in a competitive global workplace, and it just makes us happier people,” Hunt said.

The Utah Arts Council is a division of the Utah Department of Community and Culture. For more information on Utah’s Poet Laureate, contact the Utah Arts Council, (801) 236-7555, or visit