Alexandria Peary, Londonderry
Alexandria Peary was appointed by the Executive Council as New Hampshire Poet Laureate on October 23, 2019, to serve until March 2024. The state’s poet laureate serves as an ambassador for all poets in New Hampshire and works to heighten the visibility and value of poetry in the state.
Alexandria holds a MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, a second MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a PhD in English/Composition from the University of New Hampshire.
She maintains a dual career in creative writing and composition-rhetoric and has distinguished herself as a specialist in what makes writers function. She is committed to helping other poets increase their writing confidence, enjoyment, and success.
Alexandria brings to the position of poet laureate over eighteen years’ experience directing college and university writing programs. She has designed workshops and large-scale initiatives around writing—several of which have been described as groundbreaking, including her work in the area of mindful writing to help people alleviate writing blocks and writing-related anxiety.
Alexandria is the author of six books, including four books of poetry and two books of scholarship on the teaching of writing: Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers (2008); Lid to the Shadow (2011); Control Bird Alt Delete (2014); Creative Writing Pedagogies for the Twenty-First Century, with Tom C. Hunley (2015); Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing (2018); and The Water Draft (2019). She has published widely in journals including the Yale Review, Gettysburg Review, New American Writing, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Boston Review, Barrow Street, Chariton Review, Denver Quarterly, New England Review, web Conjunctions, VOLT, and North American Review.
Her writing has received recognitions including the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Slope Editions Book Prize, the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets, and an Outstanding Book Award nomination (with Tom C. Hunley) from the national organization of the Conference of College Composition and Communication.
At the Poetry Foundation, Laura Mullen has said of Alexandria that she is “one of those wonderful writers who know how to stay, as de Kooning put it, ‘on the edge of something.’”
Alexandria has given invited talks and conference presentations at the Imperial College of London, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of California Merced, Southern Vermont College, the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and the New Hampshire Poetry Festival. In 2019, she gave a TEDx talk, “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write,” available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yxnFac7CNA. Additional information about her mindful writing theory can be found at www.prolificmoment.com. She served as New Hampshire Policy Analyst for the National Council of Teachers of English, the largest organization of teachers of English in the country, and a local and regional judge for New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud. Currently, she is the History Editor for the Journal of Creative Writing Studies and the New Hampshire judge for REALM (Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines), a national program which annually selects the best high school literary magazines in the country.
Alexandria was a professor and the First-Year Writing Director at Daniel Webster College between 2000-2010 and since 2011 has taught at Salem State University where she ran the First-Year Writing Program until 2019. She is a professor in the English Department at Salem State University and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in poetry, nonfiction, fiction, composition-rhetoric, creative writing pedagogy, and mindful writing.
Her connections to New Hampshire run deep: Alexandria was born in New Hampshire (Dover); she was educated in this state (PhD from the University of New Hampshire, Durham); and she has written the majority of her books here (Nashua, Milford, Londonderry). She is deeply honored to serve the poets and poetry readers of the state of New Hampshire. May every moment be a prolific moment for the writers of New Hampshire.
Follow her on Twitter @NHPoetLaureate
Image by Jane Button Photography
Established by the state legislature in 1967, New Hampshire’s poet laureate is an honorary five-year position held by an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of poetry. The poet is appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, from a list submitted by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire.
Nominations for the position of Poet Laureate are received from across the state and reviewed by a committee comprised of representatives from the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, as well as other select members from the New Hampshire literary community.
Although there are no specified duties, the Poet Laureate is an ambassador for all poets in NH and works to heighten the visibility and value of poetry in our state. Beginning in 2013, private contributions made to the Walter Butts’ New Hampshire Poet Laureate Fund, created in memory of the former New Hampshire Poet Laureate and coordinated through the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, are providing a modest annual honorarium to help the New Hampshire Poet Laureate achieve his or her stated mission.