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A national honor, readings and a new book for Peter Meinke

By Tom Scherberger
Published August 31, 2015
Categories: Academics, Creative Writing, Literature

Peter Meinke has another title to add to his growing list of honors: Chancellor.

The Emeritus Professor of Literature, who was recently named Poet Laureate of Florida, is the new Honorary Chancellor of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) for 2015-2016.

Previous chancellors include Maxine Kumin,Ted Kooser, Natasha Trethewey—all U.S. Poet Laureates.

Meinke is already the first-ever Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, appointed in 2009.

His latest honor was announced earlier this month by Federation president Eleanor Berry. The Federation held its annual convention in St. Petersburg this summer, where Meinke gave the keynote address. “What we do is, of course, all for poets and poetry—we are poets serving our fellow poets,” Berry wrote in the Federation’s newsletter, Strophes. “At the 2015 convention, this ethos was wonderfully exemplified by the keynoter, Peter Meinke, recently named Florida Poet Laureate. He and his wife, artist Jeanne Meinke, participated actively in the entire convention, conveying the warmest interest in everyone’s work. High poetic achievement combined with such readiness to give of oneself to fellow poets is what we have been seeking in an Honorary Chancellor, and I am deeply gratified that Peter Meinke has accepted my invitation to serve as NFSPS Honorary Chancellor for 2015-16.”

Meinke said he was surprised and flattered by the honor. “I knew the NFSPS was a great supporter of poets and poetry around the country, so I was glad to accept the appointment,” Meinke said. “When Eleanor told me that previous chancellors had been wonderful poets like Maxine Kumin, Ted Kooser, Li-Young Lee, Natasha Trethewey and others, I wasn’t just glad, but proud and happy to be included.”

Meanwhile, Meinke and his wife, Jeanne, are finishing a children’s book, The Elf Poem, due to be published this fall by the University of Tampa Press. It is a book in verse designed to help children write poetry.

As Poet Laureate of Florida, Meinke will be spending a lot of time making public appearances promoting poetry around the state. Here’s his steadily expanding schedule of readings:

Oct. 15., 2015Broward College, Ft. Lauderdale
Oct. 16-17, 2015FSPS (Florida State Poetry Society), Palm Beach Gardens: reading & workshop; appointment as Honorary Chancellor 2015-2016
Oct. 24, 2015Times Festival of Reading, St. Petersburg
Oct. 29, 2015Harrison School of the Arts, Lakeland
Nov. 5-7, 2015Florida Literary Arts Coalition annual conference, St. Augustine
Nov. 13, 2015Tampa Bay Library Consortium, Tampa History Museum
Jan. 21, 2016Eckerd College, Writers in Paradise
Mar. 30, 2016Poynter Institute