Unlike England’s Poet Laureate, the position of Poet Laureate in the United States is not one that is as renowned as the British post, one steeped in history and tradition. The Poet Laureate of the US is appointed by the Librarian of Congress. Also unlike England, the post is filled annually, though the same person can serve a number of consecutive annual terms. The Poet Laureate’s usual responsibilities include the annual Library of Congress series of poetry readings and "to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry," no small task. Originally called "Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress", the post was officially retitled "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry" by Congress in 1985.

Joseph Auslander, 1937-1941
Allen Tate, 1943-1944
Robert Penn Warren, 1944-1945
Louise Bogan, 1945-1946
Karl Shapiro, 1946-1947
Robert Lowell, 1947-1948
Leonie Adams, 1948-1949
Elizabeth Bishop, 1949-1950
Conrad Aiken, 1950-1952 (first to serve two terms)
William Carlos Williams (appointed in 1952 but did not serve)
Randall Jarrell, 1956-1958
Robert Frost, 1958-1959
Richard Eberhart, 1959-1961
Louis Untermeyer, 1961-1963
Howard Nemerov, 1963-1964
Reed Whittemore, 1964-1965
Stephen Spender, 1965-1966
James Dickey, 1966-1968
William Jay Smith, 1968-1970
William Stafford, 1970-1971
Josephine Jacobsen, 1971-1973
Daniel Hoffman, 1973-1974
Stanley Kunitz, 1974-1976
Robert Hayden, 1976-1978
William Meredith, 1978-1980
Maxine Kumin,1981-1982
Anthony Hecht, 1982-1984
Robert Fitzgerald, 1984-1985
Reed Whittemore, 1984-1985
Gwendolyn Brooks, 1985-1986
Robert Penn Warren, 1986-1987
Richard Wilbur, 1987-1988
Howard Nemerov, 1988-1990
Mark Strand, 1990-1991
Joseph Brodsky, 1991-1992
Mona Van Duyn, 1992-1993
Rita Dove, 1993-1995
Robert Hass, 1995-1997
Robert Pinsky, 1997-2000
Stanley Kunitz, 2000-2001
Billy Collins, 2001-

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