Poet Kerri Webster of Boise has been named Idaho Writer in Residence by the Idaho Commission on the Arts. Webster’s application was reviewed anonymously by a panel of out-of-state judges and was selected based on writing samples and professional accomplishments. According to the review panel, “Webster is a poet of the mystical tradition who maintains deep roots in our time, and place. She considers issues of femininity, of the familial and the familiar, in spaces equally charged with deep intellectual investigation, linguistic possibility and emotionally resonant pleasure.” The highest literary recognition accorded an Idaho writer, the Writer in Residence serves as an ambassador for the literary arts, encourages meaningful engagement with the written word, and promotes the importance of creative writing to educate, illuminate, and inspire. The appointment will provide a platform to promote a Webster’s own work and to champion the work of other creative writers in the state. Webster will receive $10,000 and serve a two-year term, starting July 1, 2023.

Kerri Webster is the author of four books of poetry: Lapis (Wesleyan University Press, 2022), The Trailhead (Wesleyan, 2018), Grand & Arsenal (University of Iowa, 2012), and We Do Not Eat Our Hearts Alone (University of Georgia, 2005). She has taught at Washington University in St. Louis and Boise State, and as a Writer in the Schools for The Cabin. The recipient of honors including a Whiting Award, the Iowa Prize, the Lucille Medwick Award and a Chapbook Fellowship from the Poetry Society of America, the Lynda Hull Memorial Prize, an Alexa Rose Foundation Grant, and three Literature Fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, Webster’s poems have appeared in journals including Poetry, the Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, the Los Angeles Review, Colorado Review, Guernica, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Poetry Northwest.

According to Webster, “Through poetry I grapple with difficult questions, about place and other pressing matters: what it means to live in a democracy, what the role of the artist is, how to language sorrow regarding the declining natural world while writing toward a different outcome. The position of Writer in Residence will help make possible the time to write, and giving readings and workshops in towns across Idaho will inevitably deepen my understanding of this place I’m from.”