While the cultural landscape of Wisconsin is considered part of the state’s future, a new addition to that effort has been announced by the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission (WPLC). On Jan. 14, Nicholas Gulig started serving his two-year term as the new state poet laureate of Wisconsin and will work in this role until the end of 2024.
An announcement from the WPLC gives Gulig’s background as, “A Thai-American poet from Wisconsin. Nicholas lives in Fort Atkinson and works as an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. A Wisconsinite dedicated to his craft and passionately committed to further cultivating his state’s literary community, his poems and literary history stood out to the WPLC as exceptional.”
The announcement also spoke to Gulig’s history as a literature scholar at the University of Montana, the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and the University of Denver before going on to earn a Fulbright Fellowship to Bangkok, Thailand. Gulig has had three works published; North of Order, Book of Lake, and Orient, the last of which was a close contender for finalist in half-a-dozen national contests and additionally won the CSU Open Book Poetry Prize.
Gulig has also had a hand in local competitions as he won this year’s Wisconsin People and Ideas poetry award for his poem “Of Genesis.” Gulig’s winning of that same award in 2017 reflects his history of involvement in the state’s literature, including his work within the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The announcement by WPLC details some of the work he does at the university saying, “With the essayist Barrett Swanson, Nicholas runs The Muse, the campus literary journal, which recently collaborated with the Black Student Union to publish a portfolio of Black student responses to our nation’s persistent racial turmoil, as well as the UWW Creative Writing Festival, an event that brings over 600 students a year to the campus to take workshops with other students around the state, and the Growing Writers Summer Camp, which focuses on providing middle and high school students access to college-level writing instruction and community.”
A poetry reading to welcome Gulig will be open to the public, and will be announced when a date and time are determined. To learn more about the WPLC, visit their website here.