LSU Press Poet Ava Leavell Haymon was recently selected as Louisiana’s new poet laureate. She will serve a two-year term from 2013–2015.
“I’m honored and thrilled to be appointed poet laureate of the state of Louisiana,” Haymon said. “Past laureates, distinguished poets all, have worked hard during their appointments to encourage the natural love of words and poems that exists already in adults and children alike. I take these former laureates as models, with gratitude. To be enthusiastic about this great art form comes easily to me, and to evangelize for it utilizes some of my preacher’s-daughter fervor.”
Haymon is the author of the poetry collections Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread, Kitchen Heat, The Strict Economy of Fire, and the forthcoming Eldest Daughter, all published by LSU Press. She teaches poetry writing in Baton Rouge, and directs a writers’ retreat center in the mountains of New Mexico.
Haymon’s latest book, Eldest Daughter, will be published by LSU Press in August. The poems display her mastery of the craft and engage readers with the poetic gifts they have come to expect from her. As in previous collections, she combines the sensory and the spiritual in wild verbal fireworks. Concrete descriptions of a woman’s life in the mid-twentieth-century American South mix with wider concerns about family lies and truths, and a culture that supports or forbids clear speech.