Department of English

Professor Dean Young named 2014 Texas State Poet Laureate

Fri, April 19, 2013
Professor Dean Young named 2014 Texas State Poet Laureate

The Department of English congratulates Professor Dean Young on being named the 2014 Texas State Poet Laureate.  Young succeeds poet Rosemary Catacalos, who holds the position for 2013.

From the Press Release

AUSTIN, Texas – April 18, 2013 – The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) has announced the Texas State Legislature’s appointments to the positions of state poet laureate, state musician, state two-dimensional artist and state three-dimensional artist. The positions, created by SB 1043 of the 77th Legislature, are filled for one-year terms. The eight appointees named for 2013 and 2014 were selected by a legislative-appointed committee for the exceptional quality of their work and for their outstanding commitment to the arts in Texas.

The 2013 appointees include Texas Poet Laureate Rosemary Catacalos of San Antonio, Texas State Musician Craig Hella Johnson of Austin, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Jim Woodson of Fort Worth, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Joseph Havel of Houston.  The 2014 appointees include Texas Poet Laureate Dean Young of Austin, Texas State Musician Flaco Jimenez of San Antonio, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Julie Speed of Marfa, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Ken Little of San Antonio.  Detailed biographical information on each of the artists is available on the TCA website at

"The great talents of the 2013-2014 State Artists, along with all of those who were nominated, help contribute to a distinctive cultural identity that makes Texas a great place to live, work and visit.," said State Representative Ryan Guillen, Chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, & Tourism. "It is important that we celebrate the distinguished career achievements of these artists which have enhanced the lives of so many."   “I am honored to join Representative Guillen and all my colleagues in the Texas Legislature as we celebrate the achievements and contributions of these Texas artists," Senator Robert  Deuell stated.

Each State Artist reflects the state’s diversity and high-quality artistic offerings.  Nominees must be native Texans or have resided in the state for at least five years. They must have attained the highest levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines and earned a statewide, regional or national reputation for their high caliber work.  

Any Texas citizen was able to nominate an artist in any of the four categories and self-nominations were encouraged. TCA reviewed all nominations and developed a list of finalists for submission to the Texas Poet Laureate, State Musician and State Artist Committee. The committee, composed of members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, made the final selections. The next call for nominations will take place in the fall of 2014.

"In honoring these individuals we bring attention to the important role the arts play in shaping Texas' cultural landscape," said Gary Gibbs, executive director for the Texas Commission on the Arts. "These Texas State Artists are the best of the best. Their work defines our character of place and reflects the distinctive qualities that make Texas unique."

About The Texas Commission on the Arts

The mission of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is to advance our state economically and culturally by investing in a creative Texas. TCA supports a diverse and innovative arts community in Texas, throughout the nation and internationally by providing resources to enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism and artist sustainability initiatives. For more information on TCA and its programs, please visit

About Dean Young

Recognized nationally as one of the most energetic, influential poets writing today, Dean Young holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas-Austin. To date, Mr. Young has published 12 books of poetry and one volume of prose on the aesthetics of poetry.  Strongly influenced by the New York School poets, and Surrealists such as Andre Breton, Dean Young’s poetry is full of wild leaps of illogic, extravagant imagery, and mercurial shifts in tone. Using surrealist techniques like collage, Mr. Young’s poems often blur the boundaries between reality and imagination, creating a poetry that is enormously, almost disruptively, inclusive and engaging.

Mr. Young has received numerous awards and honors for his poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Levinson Prize, the Colorado Poetry Prize, a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems are regularly selected for the Best American Poetry annual series. Mr. Young holds a BA in English and an MFA in creative writing, both from Indiana University.

From the Texas Comission on the Arts.

"Age of Discovery"

Dean Young

On the 182nd day of the 34th year
of my education,
I wake to a snow that seems falling faster
than snow, so blossom-heavy,

but I know that classic experiment
atop the Tower of Pisa, Galileo's proof
how, regardless of mass, all things drop
at the same rate. What falls falls,

I'd like to write, in continuous swoon
but that is only music just as
there is only music in the old claims
of soul leaving the body in a powdery
whoosh, an unwedging at the scapulas
scattering birds from belfry and roof,

a whir like radium half-lifting.
I've scoffed at the man who's spent his life
trying to photograph ghosts, the woman
who teaches how to breathe from the tips
of toes but surely there's a plethora
of forces bound and unbinding within us.


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