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Texas State Poet Laureate

Walt McDonald

Poet Laureate 2001

Adopted 1933

Amended on September 1, 2001.

The first Texas State Poet Laureate was designated in February of 1932and adopted in 1933. Since that time each Legislature has appointed a commission to select a Poet Laureate. This tradition is an opportunity for the state to recognize an individual for his or her achievements and representation of Texas through poetry.

Texas State Poet Laureate: Walt McDonald

On August 21, 2001, Senator Robert Duncan and Representative Delwin Jones announced the newest Poets Laureate for the State of Texas. The Texas State Poet Laureate Committee unanimously approved James Hoggard of Wichita Falls and Walt McDonald of Lubbock as the Texas State Laureate for 2000 and 2001, respectively.

Walt McDonald is a professor of English at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Prior to his career at Texas Tech, McDonald served as both a pilot and instructor in the United States Air Force. He received two degrees from Texas Tech and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Throughout his career, McDonald has authored more than 1,800 poems and other works. He has received numerous awards recognizing his writings.

"The academic community as well as the popular press has long recognized the talents and abilities of Walter McDonald," Representative Bob Hunter said. "Of all the recommendation we receive he had the largest and most enthusiastic support for this fine honor."

Texas House Concurrent Resolution Mo. SB1043

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 82, 43rd Legislature, Regular Session (1933) authorized appointment of a committee by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House to designate an outstanding and recognized poet, who is also a citizen of the state of Texas, as poet laureate.

HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
By Duncan SB1043
AN ACT relating to creating a committee to appoint a poet laureate, a state musician, and state artists.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Title 106, Revised Statutes, is amended by adding Article 6139k to read as follows:

Art. 6139k. POET LAUREATE, STATE MUSICIAN, AND STATE ARTISTS
Sec. 1. DESIGNATING A POET LAUREATE, A STATE MUSICIAN, AND STATE ARTISTS.
(a) The Texas poet laureate, state musician, and state artist committee shall designate a poet laureate of Texas, a Texas state musician, a Texas state artist for two-dimensional media, and a Texas state artist for three-dimensional media.
(b) The Texas poet laureate, state musician, and state artist committee shall choose the poet laureate, the state musician, and the state artists from a list of individuals submitted by the Texas Commission on the Arts.
(c) The individuals designated as the poet laureate, the state musician, and the state artists do not receive any pay or emolument.
(d) The individuals designated as poet laureate, as state musician, and as state artists keep the designation for one year from the date of the designation ceremony.
Sec. 2. TEXAS POET LAUREATE, STATE MUSICIAN, AND STATE ARTIST COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED.
(a) The Texas poet laureate, state musician, and state artist committee consists of the following seven members:

(1) one member appointed by the governor;
(2) three members appointed by the lieutenant governor; and
(3) three members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.

(b) One member appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives must be the chair of the house committee that has primary jurisdiction over arts and cultural matters who serves on the committee as an additional duty of the chairmanship.
(c) Members of the committee who are not members of the legislature serve for a two-year term that expires October 1 of each odd-numbered year.
(d) The members of the committee shall select a presiding officer from the members of the committee.
Sec. 3. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM TEXAS COMMISSION ON THE ARTS.
(a) The Texas Commission on the Arts shall solicit nominations from the arts and cultural community for the poet laureate, the state musician, and the state artists. The commission shall use the commission's Texas Cultural & Arts Network, the media, public meetings, newsletters, the Writer's League of Texas, and other appropriate methods to distribute information about the nomination process.
(b) The Texas Commission on the Arts may receive submissions from poets, musicians, and artists who have been nominated.
(c) The Texas Commission on the Arts may assemble a group of artists, musicians, writers, scholars, and other appropriate experts in the fields of visual arts, music, and literature to:

(1) review the submissions from the nominated poets, musicians, and artists; and
(2) provide advice and recommendations to the commission on who should be considered for designation as poet laureate, as state musician, and as a state artist.

(d) The Texas Commission on the Arts shall submit to the Texas poet laureate, state musician, and state artist committee a list of not more than 10 individuals who are worthy of being designated as the poet laureate, a list of not more than 10 individuals who are worthy of being designated as the state musician, a list of not more than 10 individuals who are worthy of being designated as the state artist for two-dimensional media, and a list of not more than 10 individuals who are worthy of being designated as the state artist for three-dimensional media.
Sec. 4. DESIGNATION CEREMONY. The governor and members of the Texas poet laureate, state musician, and state artist committee shall honor the individuals designated as poet laureate, as state musician, and as a state artist in a ceremony at the State Capitol.
SECTION 2.
(a) This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.
(b) As soon as possible after the effective date of this Act, the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint the initial members of the Texas poet laureate, state musician, and state artist committee.
 

 

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