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April 30, 2003

SMU Professor Named 2003 State Of Texas Poet Laureate

DALLAS (SMU) -- Jack Myers, SMU professor of English and director of creative writing, is the Poet Laureate for the State of Texas by order of the Texas House of Representatives.

Myers is the author of seven books of poetry, seven books about poetry and more than 250 individual poems published in journals including American Scholar, American Poetry Review, Kansas Quarterly, Nebraska Review, and Southern Review.

"I was thrilled and especially surprised that they took a transplanted Bostonian and considered me a Texan. Texas is like New England -- you have to be third-generation to be considered a native," says Myers. "There are a lot of very good poets in Texas, and to know I was selected -- well, I'm abashed."

Myers describes his work as meditative reflection on common, everyday events. His poems also wrestle with ambition, desire and the problem of living in a "peaceful, semi-enlightened state in a progressive, urban environment," he says. "I like to ask introspective, autobiographical questions about ethical and moral issues."

The position was created by S.B. 1043 of the 77th Texas Legislature and is a one-year appointment. Nominees must be native Texans or five-year residents of the state. They must have received recognition for high levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines. They also must have received critical reviews in state, regional or national publications. In addition, poet laureate nominees must have a substantial body of work, including at least one publication that is not self-published or vanity press.

Myers holds a B.A. in English literature from the University of Massachusetts and a M.F.A. in poetry writing from the University of Iowa.