Wisconsin has a new Poet Laureate. Max Garland, an award winning poet and professor of English at UW-Eau Claire, was officially bestowed the title Thursday by the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission.
The two year post includes a $2,000 travel budget. Garland says his job is to promote poetry around the state, and he says he'd like to make people more aware of the places that they live and love, "I think that's particularly important in a time in which very often our ears are full of ear buds and our faces are full of screens and we're not necessarily fully attentive to actually where we are on earth. Whether it's in Augusta, Wisconsin or Osseo, Wisconsin, or Middleton. And I think that's what I'd like to stress. I'd like to encourage people to write about and be more attentive to places and their relationship to those places."
Garland is Wisconsin's fifth Poet Laureate. The position was created by former Gov. Tommy Thompson in 2000 and then eliminated in the current budget by Gov. Scott Walker. The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters took over the program in 2011.