Prokott named Rochesters’ third Poet Laureate

(ABC 6 News) – Rochester’s first Poet Laureate, Jane Belau, was appointed by Mayor Brede in April 2012 and Mayor Kim Norton appointed Susan McMillan as Rochester’s second Poet Laureate in 2019 for a term coterminous with the Mayor’s four-year elected term.

It is the Mayor’s honor to continue this tradition and appoint the City’s third Poet Laureate, Jean Prokott,to serve a four-year term to end on April 1, 2027, when a new Poet Laureate would be selected.

Jean Prokott is a local high school English teacher who encourages her students to write and participate in the poetry community. She is known as an excellent and award-winning writer, as well as an engaging poetry reader, who incorporates sharp wit and humor into her work. Prokott frequently writes about our community, including poems about geese, the Corn Tower, and works of art at Mayo Clinic. Her work “Prose Aubade Ending with Lipstick” was included in Bright Light: Stories in the Night – a collection of poetry and artwork from Southeast Minnesota Poets through a grant funded by the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council.

Mayor Kim Norton shares, “First, I would like to thank the selection committee for their thoughtful review and consideration of the applicants, and to thank all the individuals who applied.  I am pleased to share the appointment of Jean Prokott as Rochester’s next Poet Laureate. She brings a tremendous amount of talent and passion into the role. We are fortunate to have writers and poets like Jean in our community.”

Rochester’s Poet Laureate is an honorary position that was established to promote appreciation for poetry and the language arts, and to further community understanding of, and support for, the Laureate’s role. The Poet Laureate works with cultural, educational, and other organizations to encourage the public to enjoy and express poetic and literary creativity.

These goals are accomplished via public appearances, readings, grants, workshops, and other public displays of poetry.

The Rochester Poet Laureate must:

  • Be a legal resident of Minnesota and have lived and/or worked in the Rochester city area for at least two years;
  • Have made significant contributions to the literary community;
  • Show willingness and ability to achieve poet laureate responsibilities;
  • Intend to live and/or work in the city of Rochester or the Rochester area for the duration of the appointment.

The United States, State of Minnesota, and multiple cities have Poet Laureates.