University of Houston-Victoria publishing professor Kyle Schlesinger received a nice surprise this year: a nomination for one of the highest awards in the arts in the state.

Schlesinger, the co-director of the UHV graduate publishing program, recently received a letter from the State of Texas informing him that he was nominated to be the 2021-2022 State Poet Laureate.

“It is a tremendous honor to be nominated for the position of State Poet Laureate,” Schlesinger said. “I am grateful to whoever nominated me for this prestigious award.”

The Texas State Artist positions were created by the Texas Legislature and include a state poet laureate, a state musician, a state two-dimensional artist and a state three-dimensional artist. Texas State Artists serve one-year terms and represent the state’s artistic legacy, according to the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Texas State Artists are recognized for their contributions to the state and the advancement of their respective art forms and are established artists with a statewide, national or international reputation.

“We at UHV are delighted to hear that Dr. Schlesinger was nominated for a Texas State Artist award,” said Beverly Tomek, interim dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “Dr. Schlesinger is a talented poet, and this nomination is a testament to his creativity and work.”

Schlesinger joined UHV in 2009 and helped create the Master of Science in Publishing graduate program.

He is a poet, printer and book artist. During his time at UHV, he has helped bring a $10,000 research grant for publishing and has brought poets and other artists to campus. His scholarly activities include lectures and publishing about poetics, visual communication and artists’ books.

“I am proud of the publishing program here at UHV and all the terrific work the students do,” Schlesinger said. “It is wonderful that UHV offers both a publishing program and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing program and having both here at the university is a tremendous combination.”

His most recent book is a collection of poems called “New Kind of Country.” Schlesinger has a couple of other books forthcoming, including the books of poems “Color and Light” and “Poetics of the Press.”

Schlesinger said the field of poetry is so diverse, and he is seeing the poetry community grow as more artists move and live in rural areas of the state and country.

He is interested in the future of the publishing industry and looks forward to seeing how the industry will change.

If selected for this position, Schlesinger will join a historic list of Texas State Poets Laureate, which dates back to 1932.

“It’s incredible to be considered for this position, and it would be an absolute honor if chosen,” Schlesinger said.

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