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John Prine named honorary poet laureate of Illinois

By | Published on Wednesday 1 July 2020

John Prine

John Prine has been named honorary poet laureate for Illinois. Honorary, at least in part, because he recently died, so there will be no new work during his time in the role. The US state is also seeking a living poet to take over the more active non-honorary laureate position.

Announcing the launch of the search for a new living Illinois poet laureate, governor JB Pritzker said: “It’s also my honour to name our state’s first honorary poet laureate. John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in heaven he finds ‘paradise waitin’ just as he longed for”.

Prine, of course, died as a result of complications related to COVID-19 in April. In a statement yesterday, his widow Fiona Whelan Prine said: “John had a great respect for writers of all kinds. He regarded poets as being among those whose work carried weight, relevance and elevated craft”.

“It is such an honour for me, our sons, and the entire Prine family to acknowledge that our beloved John will be named an honorary poet laureate of the state of Illinois”, she went on. “Thank you, Governor Pritzker, for this wonderful recognition”.

Last month, the final song Prine recorded before his death, titled ‘I Remember Everything’, was released.