Poet Laureate

Debra Marquart was appointed Poet Laureate of the State of Iowa in 2019. In her capacity as poet laureate, she visits schools, libraries, and universities around the state delivering readings and teaching creative writing workshops. 

A Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Iowa State University, Marquart teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment and serves as the Senior Editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment.  Marquart is the author of seven books, including The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere; Small Buried Things: Poems; and The Night We Landed on the Moon: Essays Between Exile & Belonging

In 2021, Marquart was awarded a Poets Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets for her experiential art/environment project, Sounding Our Place.  See information below about fellowship activity and how your organization can get involved.   

Funding for Sounding Our Place is made possible by the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 


Sounding Our Place | A Creative Arts & Environment Initiative

“Sounding Our Place” is a series of experiential literary events planned around the state of Iowa that aim to bring together experienced environmentalist and naturalists with artists, musicians, and creative writers.  Events throughout 2021 and 2022 will include nature walks, hikes, or other experiential activities paired with literary readings, poets-in-the-schools events, live reading & performances, and creative writing workshops.

While agriculture is Iowa’s primary industry, the state embodies a varied landscape and economy—gorgeous stretches of farm fields punctuated by rolling woodlands, thriving small towns, and vibrant urban areas. Sounding Our Place asks the question: what are the joys and gripes, issues and historical complexities, rhythms and poetries unique to the place where you live?

These planned activities aim to meet people where they live, in their home communities, to engage in experiential activities that will encourage participants to listen and tell, touch and understand, map and narrate the richness of their home places.


sounding our place | hosting events

Would you or your organization like to host a Sounding Our Place event?  If so, contact: Debra.k.marquart@gmail.com.