Governor John R. Kasich recently announced that Dave Lucas of Cleveland Heights has been named Ohio’s poet laureate. Lucas is Ohio’s second poet laureate, the last being Dr. Amit Majmudar, and his two-year term began on January 1.
Lucas currently teaches at Case Western Reserve University. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from John Carroll University, his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Virginia, and his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. You can read a review of Lucas' book, Weather, here.
Lucas, originally from Cleveland Heights, is excited for the opportunities that this new position presents to foster a love and appreciation for poetry across Ohio. He already has plans in the works for a multimedia poetry project, which will be announced once plans are finalized through the Ohio Arts Council.
Lucas’s interest in poetry didn’t officially begin until he was in college, but he felt drawn to language even before then.
“I started writing poems seriously in college—I’d dabbled before,” said Lucas, “but years before that, I'd become aware of something compelling and mysterious in both the language of poetry and everyday language as well—in reading it, in hearing it spoken or sung. I couldn’t have put it in these words then, but I think that was the beginning of my life in poetry.”
During his time as poet laureate, Lucas hopes to connect Ohio readers from all walks of life with the many forms poetry can take. According to an Ohio Arts Council news release, Lucas "is planning a multimedia project involving people from diverse places and backgrounds allowing them to experience a variety of opinions about poetry."
“I hope to celebrate the work and legacy of Ohio poets and to celebrate poetry as we find it in ‘traditional’ poems and in unexpected places as well,” said Lucas.
Among Lucas’s many achievements are the 2012 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry for his work Weather, as well as the Cleveland Arts Prize, Emerging Artist in Literature.
His friends and family have been proud and supportive of Lucas’s newest role. “They’re already sick of hearing about it,” said Lucas. “That’s what makes them such good friends.”
By Abby Studebaker