Poet Laureate (2019 – 2024)

Debra Marquart was appointed Poet Laureate of the State of Iowa from 2019 to 2024. In her capacity as a published author and former 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 eight 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. Her most recent book, Gratitude with Dogs Under Stars: New & Collected Poems, was published in 2023.

In 2021, Marquart was awarded a Poets Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets for her experiential art/environment project, Sounding Our Place.  Funding for Sounding Our Place was 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 or a reading/performance by Debra Marquart?  If so, contact Debra.k.marquart@gmail.com for availability and information about speaking event fees.