Evansville’s own Matthew Graham is Indiana’s new Poet Laureate, the Indiana Arts Commission announced this week.

A selection committee of representatives from Indiana’s major institutions of higher education selected Graham for the honor.

During his 35 years in southern Indiana, Graham has been a respected and recognized writer, teacher, and advocate for poetry and the arts. Graham recently retired from the University of Southern Indiana, where he taught all levels of creative writing, contemporary literature, and worked with multicultural and international students in freshman composition. 

While at USI, Graham co-founded and co-directed (with Thomas Wilhelmus) The Ropewalk Writers’ Retreat, a summer program that brought national and international writers to New Harmony, Indiana for 22 years, and the Ropewalk Visiting Writers Series, which brought prominent fiction and non-fiction writers and poets to the USI campus for free public readings. 

He is the author of four poetry books, most recently “The Geography of Home.” His work has earned numerous national, regional and local honors and awards, including a Pushcart Prize, an Academy of American Poets Award, two grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Artist of the Year Award from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. 

Graham will begin his two-year term as Indiana Poet Laureate, January 1, 2020 and will continue serving through December 31, 2021. He succeeds current Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka. For more information about the Poet Laureate, visit https://www.in.gov/arts/.

Posted: Jan. 8, 2020


Zach Evans is the Community Director for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. If you have news and information about arts and culture in the region, contact Zach.