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UNR professor Gailmarie Pahmeier named Nevada Poet Laureate

CARSON CITY, Nevada — Gailmarie Pahmeier, 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.

Funding for the Nevada Poet Laureate program is provided by the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, Round Mountain Gold and the Orchard Foundation.

EDITORS: For images of Gailmarie Pahmeier, click here.


The Nevada Arts Council is part of the Nevada Division of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. Its mission is to enrich the cultural life of the state through leadership that preserves, supports, strengthens, and makes excellence in the arts accessible for all Nevadans.