Wyoming Arts Council

Wyoming Poet Laureate

Meet Wyoming’s Poet Laureate, Gene Gagliano

Gene Gagliano was appointed through an Executive Order signed by Governor Matt Mead in 2016 and continued to serve as Poet Laureate under Governor Mark Gordon. Gene is a retired elementary school teacher from Buffalo and is the eighth Poet Laureate in state history. He was first appointed to the position through an Executive Order signed by Governor Matt Mead in 2016.

“Gene writes for all audiences. He has written award-winning children’s books and adult poetry that celebrates life in Wyoming and the West,” said Governor Mead. “As an elementary school teacher for over 20 years, he has shared his passion for poetry with scores of students.”

Gene was the recipient of the IRA’s 2004 Wyoming State Celebrate Literacy Award and the 2001 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Gene’s book Dee and the Mammoth illustrated by Zachary Pullen, won the 2010-2011 Wyoming State Historical Society Award for Best Fiction and represented the state of Wyoming at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C in 2011.

His other books include C is for Cowboy, a Wyoming Alphabet; Four Wheels West, a Wyoming number Book (a Western Writer’s Spur Award nominee); V is for Venus Flytrap, a Plant Alphabet; My Teacher Dances on the Desk (winner of the 2010 Delaware Diamonds Book List Children’s Choice Award); Secret of the Black Widow (a Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award nominee); The Magic Box; Falling Stars; Inside the Clown; Booger; Little Wyoming, Angel’s Landing, Is It True?, and Wedge of Fear (3nd place 2019 Evvy Award winner). His new book Snap (2019) placed 2nd in the 2019 Evvy Awards. Gene has written the words and music for his song, Wyoming, It’s My Home. He is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, is a member of Western Writers, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International Literacy Association, Wyoming Writers, Wyoming Poets, Johnson County Arts & Humanities Council, and Friends of the Library. His book Is It True? was selected as the state of Wyoming’s  Best Read for 2018 for the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.  

“I am honored and privileged to be a part of the poets who have been Poet Laureate,” said Mr. Gagliano. “I’m very excited. It’s another venue for me to get out to kids and talk about reading and writing, inspiring them and encouraging them.” Mr. Gagliano’s work has been published by Sastrugi Press, Crystal Publishing LLC and Sleeping Bear Press

School Visits

Mr. Gagliano is available for school visits and his workshops include the Ten Step Story workshop, which can aid teachers in helping their students meet the required standard for narrative writing, as well as creative fiction. Gene’s author presentations are entertaining, informative and inspirational.  He has presented at 175 schools, and at IRA, teacher, SCBWI, and library conferences, and for libraries and festivals in Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Texas and Hawaii.

“We had the opportunity for author, Gene Gagliano, to visit with our 9th grade class here at Midwest School yesterday. Our 9th graders have expressed interest in specific career fields. Becoming a writer was one of them. Mr. Gagliano graciously accepted our invite to speak about why he became an author, tips to help writers succeed, and interactive examples of descriptive writing. He gave advice and shared his experiences of writing. He mentioned that having family and friend support is important along with knowing a good critic. The students responded positively to his humor and conversational manner. He answered questions from the crowd and expounded on them. There were over 20 ninth graders, three teachers, and our principal in attendance. Gene was more than willing to be a part of our career visit. Please know, he started off our career visits in a positive light. We were  fortunate to have Mr. Gene Gagliano share his insight, motivate and encourage our students futures here at Midwest School.” Mary Brown, Midwest Art Teacher

If you are interested in inviting Mr. Gagliano to your school or classroom, you can contact him directly through his website.


The Poet Laureate position was established in Wyoming in 1981. The first Poet Laureate was Peggy Simson Curry, appointed through an Executive Order by Gov. Ed Herschler on January 14, 1981. The poet is appointed by the Governor. The Wyoming State Archives notes that, “historically, the term of service has varied by individual, but in recent years, new poets laureate are announced around Wyoming’s statehood day, July 10, and have served two year terms.” The appointment of the Poet Laureate is at the Governor’s discretion. The Wyoming Arts Council solicits and compiles materials for consideration when requested by the Governor’s Office.

Previous Wyoming Poets Laureate

Peggy Simson Curry (January 14, 1981-January 20, 1987)

Charles L. Levendosky (January 4, 1988-1995)

Robert Roripaugh (July 21, 1995-2003)

David Romtvedt (August 15, 2004-January 3, 2011)

Patricia Frolander (November 7, 2011-June 9, 2013)

Echo Roy Klaproth (July 10, 2013-July 8, 2015)

Rose Hill (July 9, 2015-July 10, 2016)