Governor Jan K. Brewer Signs SB 1348 that Establishes Arizona Poet Laureate
In May, 2012, Governor Jan K. Brewer signed SB 1348 that establishes the position of Arizona Poet Laureate, a appointed position in which the individual may be expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events, to generally promote creative writing, prose, poetry and perform other duties. Thanks are to be given for the support of Arizona State Senator Al Melvin and most members of the Arizona State Senate and Arizona House of representatives; with their support this bill passed. Two years ago, Stuart Watkins, initially the driving force behind creating this position in Arizona, asked Senator Melvin if the position could be created. Senator Melvin sponsored a bill that passed the Senate, but was not let out of committee in the House. The following year, again at Stuart’s request, Senator Melvin introduced SB 1348, passing both the Senate and House.
Many poets from across Arizona, as well as many arts groups and various supporters of the concept, sent postcards, letters, and made special appeals to various elected officials helping to create this position.
To celebrate Arizona’s 100th year of Statehood, and to push the idea of having a Poet Laureate, Stuart Watkins published ARIZONA: 100 YEARS, 100 POEMS, 100 POETS (revised edition edited by his son Hawkeye Watkins)