LINCOLN — The vacancy in the office of “Nebraska state poet” was filled Thursday with the naming of Twyla Hansen of Lincoln.
Hansen, 64, will be the first woman to hold the position, said Gov. Dave Heineman, who announced the appointment.
The position has been vacant since the death in 2011 of Bill Kloefkorn, who mentored Hansen.
Hansen has an extensive publishing history, both in books and periodicals. She has received numerous awards and honors for her poetry, including the High Plains Book Award and the WILLA Literary Award, and has twice been awarded the Nebraska Book Award.
“There are so many fine writers in this state. I am truly honored and humbled by this selection. I look forward to working with students and citizens in the creative writing process throughout our great state of Nebraska,” said Hansen.
Her selection is based on the recommendation of a five-person State Poet Selection Committee, coordinated by the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Library Commission.
Hansen, a native of a northeast Nebraska farm, has done considerable community outreach, poetry workshops and readings, including at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau member. Hansen has an undergraduate degree in horticulture and a master’s degree in agroecology, both from UNL.
The appointment is for five years, serving from Dec. 1 through 2018. The position of state poet was created in 1921.
Hansen is the third state poet. The first, the late John Neihardt, was named Nebraska Poet Laureate “in perpetuity” in 1927. Kloefkorn was appointed in 1982 by former Gov. Charles Thone.