“P” is for Poets Laureate
“P” is for Poets Laureate. The South Carolina General Assembly made the title of state poet laureate official in 1934, proclaiming, “the governor may name and appoint some outstanding and distinguished man of letters as poet laureate of the State of South Carolina.” That same year Archibald Rutledge was appointed as the first official poet laureate of South Carolina. Rutledge held the title until his death in 1973. Poets laureate do not have a strictly delineated job description beyond the expectation that they will present poetry at a few state occasions. Until it was stricken from the state budget in 2003, the position carried a small stipend. Altogether South Carolina has had six poets laureate since 1934: Archibald Rutledge, Helen von Kolnitz Hyer, Ennis Rees, Grace Beacham Freeman, Bonnie Lee Sinclair, and Marjory Wentworth.