AUGUSTA — Poets of Maine may now rejoice. Or suffer. Or whatever they do when they have a big assignment.

That’s because Gov. Paul LePage, who spurned the customary poetry reading at his inauguration Jan. 5, is enthusiastic about his chance to appoint the next Maine State Poet Laureate.

It says so in a news release that the Maine Arts Commission issued Thursday. The governor is looking forward to reading submissions and working with an advisory panel to select “Maine’s next top proponent of the written word.”

When LePage decided to go ahead with his inaugural ceremony without any poetry, the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance invited poetry lovers statewide to gather at Longfellow Square in Portland to read verses throughout the very hour when he took his oath of office.

The group’s director, Joshua Bodwell, said he’s excited that Maine’s straight-talking new governor is now embracing the arts.

The arts commission and the Maine State Library will accept nominations until Feb. 25.

The Office of the State Poet Laureate, which the Legislature created in 1995, is held by a resident who has published “distinguished poetry.” The poet laureate serves a five-year term and advocates for the written word throughout Maine.

Past poet laureates include distinguished poets such as Kate Barnes of Appleton and Baron Wormser of Hallowell. Maine’s poet laureate is now Elizabeth Neary Sholl of Portland.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler contributed to this report.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 699-6261 or at:

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