poet laureate profile

Though Britain has had a poet laureate for centuries, the United States has had one only since 1986, when legislators renamed the position of Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. The Library itself now describes the poet laureate, perhaps alarmingly, as ‘the nation’s official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans.

I laughed out loud at “lightning rod” even if tears might have been more appropriate. Stephen Burt has a profile of poet laureate Louise Gluck in the Boston Globe.