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Courtesy Mary Ann Cain
Kalamaras and Bootsie

Verbatim: George Kalamaras of Fort Wayne named state poet laureate

The Indiana Arts Commission issued this news release today:

(Indianapolis, Indiana) – The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced today the selection of George Kalamaras, Fort Wayne, Indiana, as the new Indiana State Poet Laureate.

Kalamaras is a professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, a post he has held since 1990. Among his degrees, he holds a Doctorate in English from State University of New York at Albany. He was born in Chicago and grew up in Cedar Lake, Indiana, in Lake County.

"I am deeply honored with this appointment and absolutely thrilled to serve the people and state of Indiana in this way," Kalamaras said. "The vocation of poetry is not about individual accolades, although I am humbled and most pleased with this honor. However, I see poetry as an act of loving service – to people, to animals and the planet, and to the culture at large. Poetry grants us the opportunity to practice a meaning-making activity in which the smaller sense of self eventually dissolves into a more expansive Self with a larger sense of purpose beyond the individual. I look forward to serving as Poet Laureate and am grateful beyond words for the faith the Indiana Arts Commission has already shown in me."

He has published six books of poetry and one of scholarship including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Contest, The Recumbent Galaxy, co-authored with Alvaro Cardona-Hine and winner of the C&R Press Open Competition, and The Theory and Function of Mangoes, winner of the Four Way Books Intro Series; six poetry chapbooks; numerous articles in scholarly journals; and more than 725 poems in anthologies and magazines in the U.S and abroad.

In 1994, Kalamaras received an Indo-U.S. Advanced Research Fellowship (from the Fulbright Foundation and the Indo-U.S. Subcommission on Education and Culture) to conduct research in India, with joint affiliations at Banaras Hindu University and Deccan College. In 1993, he received a Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has twice received an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. In 2009, he won the Outstanding Researcher Award at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

He has presented numerous poetry readings throughout the United States as well as in India, and has served as a guest lecturer at universities in both countries.

Kalamaras will begin his two-year term as Indiana Poet Laureate January 1, 2014 serving through December 31, 2015.

The Indiana Arts Commission conducted a statewide call for nominations which were reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from Indiana's major institutions of higher education.

Increasing the awareness of poetry and the power of the written and spoken word was the inspiration behind legislation signed into law in 2005 creating the State Poet Laureate Program. The legislation provides for the development of specific educational programming coordinated between the Indiana Arts Commission, the Indiana Department of Education, and the State Poet Laureate.

Kalamaras succeeds Karen Kovacik who served as Indiana Poet Laureate since January 2012. Joyce Brinkman was the inaugural State Poet Laureate. She was succeeded by Norbert Krapf.

To learn more about the Poet Laureate program, please visit: www.in.gov/arts/2393.htm.

The Indiana Arts Commission is dedicated to the vision of the arts everywhere, everyday, for everyone in Indiana.

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