University’s Second Poet Laureate Appointed

BY RAEGAN NEUFELD

VIDEO BY LAUREN HUYNH

According to Fort Hays State University’s second Poet Laureate, Jacob Buckman, one of his new duties’ biggest roles is outreach.

“[The poet laureate is a] position in charge of outreach and grabbing people’s attention, and bringing everyone who has a love for poetry together and organizing events,” he said. 

Buckman is a junior at Fort Hays, and just recently became the university’s Poet Laureate. He took on the role this year after the previous Poet Laureate, Emily Linder, graduated at the end of last year. She held the title for two semesters and was the first person to be selected for the position after its creation. 

According to Buckman, Linda McHenry and Linda Smith of the English Department were two key people in establishing a Poet Laureate at the university, as they had had the idea for a long time. 

“They knew that Poet Laureates were at other universities and large organizations. They had a desire to do that because I think that they enjoy poetry and are inspired by that kind of thing,” he said.

Buckman also mentioned that Morgan Chalfant is the mentor for the position, crediting his skills as a writer.

The process of becoming the Poet Laureate began with writing several poems and a cover letter, as well as presenting two letters of recommendation. Buckman was then required to go through a series of interviews as well.

“I wrote probably five sets of poems, rather than just five poems, because I was having a lot of fun doing that. It was more extensive than what I expected it to be right off the bat, but I didn’t really know what this role was or what to expect with it,” Buckman said.

The newness of the position has had an effect on the role that Buckman is now playing. He explained how, at this point, he is really just trying to get something started that will hopefully stay in place in the future. 

“That’s the goal right now,” he explained. “First and foremost we’re just trying to gather people with a love of poetry and inspire a little bit of necessity and desire around poetry, and music and things like that.”

The plan for Buckman right now is to first establish a following. To do this, Buckman hopes to organize events such as poetry sharings or readings in the future. The first event this year took place on September 8th. The event involved magnet poetry. People could use magnets with words on them to create poems on whiteboards. Attendees included both students and faculty.

Buckman was pleased with the results of the event. Not only with the attendance, but also the fact that people were getting very creative.

“We had a group of people that came and stayed for an hour or so, who were just writing poem after poem. It was getting funny and a little risque in areas, which was hilarious. I mean, people were starting to express themselves. That was a real promising thing,” he said.

Students can expect more events to come, as Buckman stated that there are several being organized right now. The closest event to be on the lookout for is a themed poetry sharing event, where Buckman hopes that attendees will be able to share poems and the reasons why they enjoy the literature.

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