Written from press release
Indianapolis – January 28, 2024
The Indiana Arts Commission announced last week that Curtis L. Crisler has been appointed as the Indiana Poet Laureate, marking the eighth individual to hold this prestigious title. He succeeds Matthew Graham, who served in the role since 2020.
A selection committee, comprising representatives from seven of Indiana’s colleges and universities, along with the Indiana Arts Commission Executive Director, unanimously chose Crisler for this honorable position.
Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, Crisler holds a BA in English with a minor in Theatre from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, now Purdue Fort Wayne. He further pursued his passion, obtaining an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Crisler is an acclaimed poet and author, with his work “Doing Drive-Bys on How to Love in the Midwest” earning the C&R Press Award for Poetry. His extensive bibliography includes poetry books, young adult literature, poetry chapbooks, anthologies, and contributions to various magazines and journals.
Crisler’s literary achievements have garnered him fellowships and residencies from notable institutions such as the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, Cave Canem, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and others. He has also received grants and awards, including recognition from the Indiana Arts Commission, Eric Hoffer Awards, and the Sterling Plumpp First Voices Poetry Award.
In addition to his literary pursuits, Curtis L. Crisler serves as a Professor of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Expressing his gratitude for the appointment, Crisler remarked, “I am so honored to be Indiana’s Poet Laureate. I must thank Marsi Lawson for all of this. It is not a position the young Curtis that grew up in Gary, Indiana, would have ever seen for himself. With that said, I want to share and bridge and discover what I know and do not know about the entire Hoosier state, using poetry and my Indiana Chitlin Circuit (ICC) to celebrate community. Much more to come!”
Established in 2005, the Poet Laureate program aims to bring poetry to every corner of the state. In his capacity as Poet Laureate, Crisler will make appearances at schools and libraries, provide guidance to the Indiana Arts Commission to enhance the art of poetry in Indiana, and act as a representative of Indiana and the art of poetry to the wider community.
Miah Michaelsen, Executive Director of the Indiana Arts Commission, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to welcome Curtis Crisler as Indiana’s next Poet Laureate. His vision for expanding access to poetry for Hoosiers resonated with the selection committee, and we look forward to what he will achieve during his tenure. Curtis is a wonderful representative of the Hoosier state and the literary talent in Indiana.”