Gov. Kim Reynolds appoints Iowa Poet Laureate

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Vince Gotera

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed UNI’s Vince Gotera, professor in the Department of Languages & Literatures, to serve a two-year term as Iowa Poet Laureate and the fifth poet laureate of the state.

The Iowa Poet Laureate is an honorary appointment made by the governor to recognize the importance of poetry in Iowans’ everyday lives. The Iowa Poet Laureate is selected from a list of nominees put forth by a volunteer citizen committee. The Iowa Poet Laureate program is managed by the Iowa Arts Council in collaboration with Humanities Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Vince Gotera has taught creative writing and literature at the University of Northern Iowa for almost 30 years. He has earned the Faculty Excellence Award and the statewide Regents Award for Faculty Excellence.

“As a writer, editor and educator, Vince Gotera represents the best of Iowa’s fertile poetic tradition,” said Jim O’Loughlin, languages & literatures professor and department head, who nominated Gotera for the appointment. “Iowa has not only been where he has lived and worked for the last three decades, but he has also exemplified the work ethic and openness to influences that I have come to associate with our state. As poet laureate, he would be an inspiration to younger writers and a proud proponent of poetry in Iowa.

Speaking of his appointment, Gotera said, “I’m excited to represent poetry across the state of Iowa. Born and raised in San Francisco and having lived a few years as a child in the Philippines, I’ve been very glad to be so welcomed in Iowa, where I have lived for almost 30 years. I’m elated to promote poetry in the state and inspire Iowans to read and write poetry, to bring beauty and art to our everyday lives.”

 As an author, Gotera has published more than 300 poems in venues across the U.S. and internationally along with four collections of his poetry: Dragonfly (1994), Ghost Wars (2003), Fighting Kite (2007), and The Coolest Month (2019). Gotera is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the  Arts, the Global Filipino Literary Award in Poetry, and the Academy of American Poets Prize.  

From 2000 to 2016, Gotera served as Editor of the North American Review, the longest-lived literary magazine in the U.S. Subsequently he was Editor of Star*Line, the print magazine of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017-2020). 

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