The Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission is thrilled to announce Nicholas Gulig as the new state poet laureate of Wisconsin. Nicholas will serve his two-year term beginning January 14, 2023 and serve until the end of 2024. A Thai-American poet from Wisconsin. Nicholas lives in Fort Atkinson and works as an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. A Wisconsinite dedicated to his craft and passionately committed to further cultivating his state’s literary community, his poems and literary history stood out to the WPLC as exceptional.
Nicholas studied literature at the University of Montana, the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and the University of Denver. In 2011 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to Bangkok, Thailand during which he completed his first book North of Order. Cutbank Books published his second collection, Book of Lake. In 2018, his third collection, Orient, was a finalist or semi-finalist in 6 national book contests, eventually winning the coveted CSU Open Book Poetry Prize. He has been invited to give numerous readings, talks, and lectures across the country by such institutions as Naropa University, Cleveland State University, and the Association of Asian American Studies, among others
Locally, he has twice won the Wisconsin People & Ideas poetry award, once in 2017 for a poem titled “The New American Nostalgia,” and most recently this year for a poem titled “Of Genesis.” Nicholas has given talks and readings across the state, including for the Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild where he spoke alongside former Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland. At the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater he works with young Midwestern writers daily in the classroom. With the essayist Barrett Swanson, Nicholas runs The Muse, the campus literary journal, which recently collaborated with the Black Student Union to publish a portfolio of Black student responses to our nation’s persistent racial turmoil, as well as the UWW Creative Writing Festival, an event that brings over 600 students a year to the campus to take workshops with other students around the state, and the Growing Writers Summer Camp, which focuses on providing middle and high school students access to college level writing instruction and community. Additionally, he founded and curates a variety of reading series, including The Warhawk Reading and Lecture Series, The Lamplight Reading Series, and the Faculty Spotlight Reading Series. He also received a FIRE grant to study the poetry of Lorine Niedecker, conducting research on and recreating Niedecker’s 1966 trip circumnavigating Lake Superior.
In his term as state poet laureate, Nicholas plans to curate a monthly online column devoted to Wisconsin poetry, and curate a “Letters to a Young Poet” program in their spirit of Rainer Maria Rilke. A welcoming poetry reading will be open to the public, date and time to be announced.