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Karen Craigo

Karen Craigo of Springfield, Mo., is the state's new poet laureate.

Karen Craigo of Springfield, Mo., is the state's fifth poet laureate, taking over from Aliki Barnstone of Columbia. 

Craigo was chosen by Gov. Mike Parson. Her term runs through 2021. 

“As Poet Laureate, I am making it my mission to bring out the poetry of everyday life in our beautiful state,” she said in a news release from the Missouri Arts Council. The poet laureate usually makes several public visits a year to do readings or workshops.

Craigo has two published collections of her work, "Passing Through Humansville" (2018), and "No More Milk" (2016). She is the poetry series editor for Moon City Press, which is based at Missouri State University. She also is nonfiction editor for Mid-American Review and blogs at Better View of the Moon

Parson chose Craigo from three poets recommended by a committee made up of the past state laureates and council board member Pat Ann Sharp.

Two of the state's previous laureates have been based in central Missouri (Barnstone and Walter Bargen); one has been from the Kansas City area (William Trowbridge); and one from St. Louis (David Clewell).

Craigo is also editor and general manager of The Marshfield Mail, a 128-year-old weekly newspaper based in the Webster County seat, said the announcement this week from the arts council. 

That role makes an appearance in this excerpt from Craigo's "Ten Sources of Light"

The day the eclipse came

I watched it through a welder’s mask:

dark stain smothering the light.

I was a reporter in a small town

and the sun was my beat.

I walked around the square,

seeking opinions—what do you think

of the sun, I asked, and have you ever

seen anything like this?

I could have interviewed the birds—

suddenly quiet in the middle

of the day, it seemed they had

an opinion. No one dares to posit

the tough questions—

where is your god now, good man,

and do you believe your star

will ever come back?