HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana University Professor of English Jack Bedell, of Hammond, has been named the new poet laureate for Louisiana by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Through a process coordinated by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the governor tapped Bedell to succeed Professor Peter Cooley of Tulane University, who served in that position since 2015.
Nominees must have published works in books, anthologies, literary journals or magazines. The committee is charged with selecting nominees who reflect the diverse cultures and heritage of Louisiana.
The author of nine books of poetry, Bedell teaches creative writing to Southeastern students. He is a native of the Houma-Thibodaux area and joined the Southeastern faculty in 1992. In addition to teaching, he is editor of “Louisiana Literature,” a literary journal published by Southeastern, and he serves as director of Louisiana Literature Press.
Among his works are “Come Rain, Come Shine,” “What Passes for Love,” “At the Bonehouse,” and “Revenant.” Due to be released in 2018 is his new book “No Brother, This Storm.” Bedell has had numerous poems published in anthologies and journals.
Bedell is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including having been nominated to serve as state poet laureate four times. He was honored with the Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement in 2007, earned the 2005 Special Humanities Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and was honored with Southeastern’s President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity in 1997, one of the highest awards presented by the university to faculty and staff.
Bedell received his doctorate in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a master’s of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Arkansas, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.