The Utah Division of Arts & Museums is pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Bickmore as Utah Poet Laureate. The Utah Poet Laureate is a Governor-appointed advocate for literature and the arts throughout the state who presents in communities, schools, libraries, and public events. The position was established in 1997. Bickmore follows Paisley Rekdal, who was Utah Poet Laureate from April 2017 to April 2022. Bickmore will serve a five-year term.
Born in Dover, Delaware, Bickmore grew up living all over the United States and in Japan. She is the author of three books of poems: Haste (Signature Books, 1994), flicker, which won the 2014 Antivenom Prize from Elixir Press, and Ephemerist (Red Mountain Press, June 2017).
Her poetry, scholarship, and video work have been published in Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Tar River Poetry; Sugar House Review; SouthWord; Caketrain; Hunger Mountain Review; Terrain.org; Bite-Size Poems project (Utah Division of Arts & Museums); Quarterly West; The Moth; MappingSLC.org; Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormon Poets; and elsewhere. In 2015, her poem “Eidolon” was awarded the Ballymaloe International Poetry Award.
She earned a B.A. and an M.A. from Brigham Young University. She is recently retired from her position as a Professor of English at Salt Lake Community College, where she was the recipient of the SLCC Foundation Teaching Excellence Award in 2006. She taught writing of all sorts, as well as publication studies, and is one of the founders of the SLCC Publication Center. In 2019, she founded the nonprofit Lightscatter Press, which published its first book in April of 2021.
“We’re delighted to announce Lisa Bickmore as our latest Utah Poet Laureate,” said Utah Arts & Museums Director Vicki Panella Bourns. “She has already given great service to the literary community through her work at SLCC, and we’re excited to see how she’ll expand on this work more broadly as Utah Poet Laureate.”
“I feel so fortunate to have been able to see all the past poets laureate do their work, which has given me a sense of what exemplary literary citizenship looks like,” said Bickmore. “I hope to add to, build on, and extend their work, while serving and promoting the lively and wonderful writers of Utah. In addition to working with poets around the state to continue the poetry festival that my predecessor, Paisley Rekdal, started, I hope to create a mobile micro-press, working with writers around the state to create small-edition chapbooks and broadsides of their work, and creating an archive of these publications. In this way, I hope we can together develop venues for sharing and circulating work, and for making more of the writing that happens every day in Utah visible.”