JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Governor Matt Blunt taps a mid-Missouri man to become the state's first poet laureate.
Walter Bargen, 59, of Ashland, has published nine books and two informal books of poetry in almost 30 years. He has won several awards for his prose and poetry and been published in more than 100 magazines. Bargen will serve a two-year term at the governor's pleasure.
Blunt created the poet laureate position last fall by executive order. The state poet is responsible for promoting arts throughout Missouri and must make at least six appearences per year at public libraries and schools.
All of Missouri's neighbors have a poet laureate. Missouri is one of the last states to create the position.