My role as Poet Laureate is to be present in many different types of communities and to foster an appreciation for voices that are marginalized. North Carolina has rich diversity of community and there are amazing stories that I want to help people excavate and tell and write and celebrate.
— Jaki Shelton Green, North Carolina's 9th poet laureate
The North Carolina Poet Laureate advocates for the power of poetry and the written word to illuminate, educate, entertain and transform the minds and hearts of people of all ages and from all walks of life. The laureate acts as an ambassador for North Carolina literature and literacy, using the office as a platform from which to highlight not only his or her own work, but also the work of other writers in our state. The standard appointment is for a two-year term, but this can be extended at the discretion of the Governor. The poet laureate shapes the position based on his or her own strengths through a long-term project or program of special interest. However, all poets laureate share the following duties: travel across North Carolina to engage writers and readers of all ages in a variety of settings including schools, libraries, and community centers; communication with the press; and writing commemorative poems for historical or culturally important occasions. The North Carolina Arts Council supports the poet laureate by coordinating and publicizing speaking events, and typically provides a stipend to defray some of the laureate’s travel and expenses. Jaki Shelton Green is North Carolina’s current Poet Laureate. She is the first African American and the third woman to serve as the state’s ambassador for poetry and the spoken word. She was first appointed North Carolina Poet Laureate in 2018. Governor Roy Cooper reappointed her in May 2021.