Henry Hart has a new title: Poet laureate of Virginia

hart-2.jpgPhoto by Stephen Salpukas

For the first time since the creation of the position 70 years ago, the poet laureate of Virginia will reside at William & Mary.

Henry Hart, the Mildred and J.B. Hickman Professor of English and Humanities, will officially become the commonwealth’s 17th poet laureate on July 2 at a swearing-in ceremony in Richmond. Although the Poetry Society of Virginia, which ultimately submits nominations for Poet Laureate to the governor’s office, was founded at W&M’s Wren Chapel in 1923, the only other laureate associated with W&M was Thomas Lomax Hunter ’48.

“I have worked closely with the Poetry Society for about the last 15 years,” Hart said, “and I think in some way I was rewarded for the work I’ve done with the poet laureateship. I don’t know if I set it as a goal, but it definitely represents a culmination.”

Hart, who was described as “The Biographical Poet” by Coastal Virginia Magazine, has been a prodigious author. Included among his many works are The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill, Seamus Heaney: Poetry of Contrary Progressions, Robert Lowell and the Sublime, James Dickey: The World as a Lie and Robert Frost: A Biography. His works of original poetry include The Ghost Ship, The Rooster Mask, Background Radiation and Familiar Ghosts. His resume contains dozens of articles, reviews and presentations.

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