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Michigan Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Nandi Comer Hero image
Library Of Michigan

Michigan Poet Laureate


Nandi Comer Poet Laureate

Michigan Poet Laureate

The Library of Michigan is pleased to announce Michigan poet Nandi Comer as the Michigan Poet Laureate.

To learn more about the announcement, please read the press release available on the Michigan Department of Education website:

Award-Winning Poet Named Michigan’s Poet Laureate

Discover more about Nandi Comer through her video conversation with Michigan Collection/Reference Librarian Mindy Babarskis:


Raised in Detroit and a graduate of Communications and Media Arts High School in Detroit, Comer received bachelor’s degrees in English and in Spanish with an emphasis on Latin American Culture from the University of Michigan. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Callaloo, and a translation fellowship by U.S. Poets in Mexico.  

Comer’s writing received the Vera Myer Strube Award in poetry. Comer is the winner of Crab Orchard Review’s 2014 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize. In 2016, she completed a master’s degree in African American Literature from the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from the English Department at Indiana University. She is a 2019 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow. 

Over the years, Comer has been dedicated to youth development by serving as a writer-in-residence in Detroit Public Schools Community District and community centers. She has also worked in collaboration with organizations, including YArts and InsideOut Literary Arts Projects. Ms. Comer served as a curriculum developer and youth curriculum consultant for various arts organizations and in 2018 received the William Wiggins Award for Outstanding Teaching at Indiana University.

Comer’s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, The Journal of Pan African Studies, Sycamore Review, and Third Coast. She is the author of American Family: Syndrome (Finishing Line Press) and Tapping Out (Northwestern University Press), which was awarded the 2020 Society of Midland Authors Award and the 2020 Julie Suk Award.

Comer is currently the director of Allied Media Projects Seeds Program and the co-director of Detroit Lit, a program dedicated to providing reading and professional development opportunities to narrative makers of color in Detroit.

Published Works

Tapping Out : Poems - TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2020

American Family : A Syndrome - Finishing Line Press, 2018


Connect with the Michigan Poet Laureate by emailing:

Interested in hosting the Michigan Poet Laureate? Submit your request using the 2023-24 Michigan Poet Laureate Event Request Form: The submission period is now closed. See notes below for additional ways of booking Nandi Comer.

2024 Events

April 2, 2024 - TBD

Leland Public School
200 N. Grand Ave
Leland, MI 49654

May 22, 2024 - TBD

Airport Community Schools
1270 Grafton Rd
Carleton, MI 48117

Monroe County Library System - Carleton Branch Library
1444 Kent Street
Carleton, MI 48117-0267

June 18, 2024 - 7:00PM

Brandon Township Public Library
304 South St
Ortonville, MI 48462

June 20, 2024 - Event is being rescheduled.

Spring Lake District Library
123 E Exchange St
Spring Lake, MI 49456

June 22, 2024 - Workshop 12:00PM/Reading 3:00PM

Capital Area District Libraries - Downtown Lansing
401 South Capitol Ave
Lansing, MI 48933

September 11, 2024 - TBD

Portage Lake District Library
58 Huron St
Houghton, MI 49931

Note: Find additional events for Nandi Comer by visiting:*

*These events are not part of the Michigan Poet Laureate program. Organizations interested in hosting Nandi Comer outside of the Michigan Poet Laureate program should connect with Nandi at

History of Michigan Poet Laureate position

Prior to Comer’s selection, Michigan had only appointed one other state poet laureate. Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959) was named Poet Laureate through Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 38 (1952) of the Michigan Legislature.
Guest held the title of Poet Laureate of the state of Michigan from 1952 until his death in 1959. Will Carleton (1847-1912) is sometimes referred to as the first Poet Laureate of Michigan. Public Act 51 of 1919 designated October 21 of each year as "Carleton Day" in memory of "Michigan's pioneer poet." However, "Carleton Day" was a commemorative school holiday in honor of Carleton as opposed to an appointed poet laureate title. "Carleton Day" was removed as a school holiday in 1995 as directed by Public Act 289 during a revision of the state of Michigan's school code.


Updated: 12/20/2023