The Nevada Poet Laureate

promoting the art of poetry, literacy and learning



Gailmarie Pahmeier, the widely published author and professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been named Nevada Poet Laureate. Gov. Steve Sisolak has appointed her to serve a two-year term, beginning September 2021 and concluding August 2023, during which time she is charged with propagating the art of poetry and encouraging literacy and learning throughout the state. She will receive a $5,000 Grant from the Nevada Arts Council each year.

“Poetry and the arts play a meaningful role in the life of a community, and we are so pleased to have Gailmarie Pahmeier, a respected poet and longtime educator, taking on this role for Nevada,” Gov. Sisolak said.

The Nevada Arts Council manages the Nevada Poet Laureate program. Pahmeier was one of several finalists chosen through an independent panel review. The review criteria consisted of demonstrated excellence in the literary arts, established history of community involvement, the ability to engage with the public through poetry, and a demonstrated engagement with diverse communities. Applications were taken this spring; the agency forwarded the panel recommendations to the Governor’s Office.

“The Nevada Arts Council is committed to strengthening creativity in Nevada,” Tony Manfredi, Nevada Arts Council executive director, said. “Our agency is very excited to collaborate with Gailmarie Pahmeier to utilize the power of poetry to help our Nevada communities thrive and prosper.”

A 2016 inductee in the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, Pahmeier has published three full-length works of poetry, The Rural Lives of Nice Girls, The House on Breakaheart Road, and Of Bone, Of Ash, Of Ordinary Saints: A Nevada Gospel, as well as three chapbooks — short collections of poems with a unifying theme. Her work has been included in literary journals Booth, Spillway and Descant, among others. She served as Reno Poet Laureate in 2015.

Pahmeier teaches creative writing and contemporary literature at UNR, where she received the University Distinguished Teacher Award in 1995 and the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award in 1994, among other distinctions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Southern Illinois University and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Arkansas.

Overview of Poet Laureate Appointment

The Nevada State Poet Laureate is a Governor appointed position. The Nevada Arts Council oversees the Poet Laureate selection process and submits qualified individuals to the Governor for final review and appointment. The role of the Poet Laureate is to propagate the art of poetry and encourage literacy and learning throughout the state.

In-Person Appearances/Expected Travel

A minimum of two in-person or online readings targeting a variety of cultural communities and geographic areas of the state per quarter, including Governor’s inauguration, Nevada Arts Council Conference, Governor’s Global Tourism Summit, Nevada State Poetry Out Loud Finals, and other events to be determined. Laureates are encouraged to gather requests for participation in events and consider them in cooperation with Nevada Arts Council on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis when setting their schedule.


The Nevada Poet Laureate will be expected to undertake a significant cultural project during his or her term, such as bringing poetry to people or to a region of the state that might otherwise be underserved in this regard. The Poet Laureate will engage a variety of constituencies, enriching the lives of residents by sharing and promoting poetry through public appearances, readings, workshops, and digital and social media. The scope and budget of the project will be determined in collaboration with the Nevada Arts Council staff after the appointment.


The Nevada Poet Laureate will be awarded a $5000 Artist Project Grant each year to offset the cost of travel to public engagements and to fund the two-year project requirement. This grant also serves to acknowledge and recognize the Nevada Poet Laureate’s time and talents. Compensation from the Nevada Arts Council may be considered taxable income.


Gailmarie’s Letter to Nevadans

For More Information Contact:

Stephen Reid
Artist Services Specialist

Funding for the Nevada Poet Laureate Program is provided by:

State of Nevada / Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs • National Endowment for the Arts • Round Mountain Gold • The Orchard Foundation