ACES is excited to announce award-winning writer, University of Utah professor, and Utah’s poet laureate Paisley Rekdal as keynote speaker for the 2020 annual conference. Rekdal will speak at the Friday night banquet on May 1, 2020 at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center.
For the duration of her four-year term as Utah's poet laureate, she will work on a website that "maps" literary Utah. The site, Mapping Literary Utah, will contain poems and prose excerpts by writers that reside or have resided in Utah. Mapping Literary Utah will launch April 2020, with help from an Academy of American Poets' Poet Laureate Fellowship. Rekdal also helped launch the inaugural Utah Poetry Festival in April 2019, along with several other Salt Lake City–based poets. The festival highlighted Utah-based poets and focused on teaching poetry to K–12 students.
Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Residency, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes (2009, 2013), Narrative's Poetry Prize, the AWP Creative Nonfiction Prize, and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Tin House, the Best American Poetry series (2012, 2013, 2017–2019), and on National Public Radio, among others. She teaches at the University of Utah, where she is also the creator and editor of the community web project Mapping Salt Lake City. In May 2017, she was named Utah's poet laureate and received a 2019 Academy of American Poets' Poets Laureate Fellowship.
Rekdal is the author of two nonfiction books and four books of poems. Her most recent book, Imaginary Vessels, is forthcoming.