Gov. Dave Heineman today named Twyla Hansen of Lincoln as the Nebraska State Poet. Hansen, 64, will be the first female to hold the position.
Twyla Hansen is an accomplished poet, with 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, the WILLA Literary Award, and twice being awarded the Nebraska Book Award.
Gov. Heineman has named the State Poet from the recommendation of a five person State Poet Selection Committee, coordinated by the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Library Commission.
State Poet Selection Committee member and Executive Director of the Nebraska Arts Council, Suzanne Wise, said, "We are excited that Governor Heineman has named Twyla as State Poet. She forms a nice bridge between the older generation of Nebraska poets and the younger poets, which know her as a good collaborator and mentor in her own right."
"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.
Hansen has done a great deal of community outreach, poetry workshops and readings, including at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is a Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau member. Hansen has an undergraduate degree in Horticulture and a Master's degree in Agroecology, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The appointment is for 5 years, serving from Dec. 1, 2013-2018. The position of State Poet was created in 1921. Hansen is the third State Poet, including John Neihardt who was named Nebraska Poet Laureate "in perpetuity" in 1927. She replaces William Kloefkorn who passed away at age 79. Kloefkorn was appointed in 1982 by former Nebraska Governor Charles Thone. Kloefkorn was a mentor to Hansen.