Founded in 1968, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) is dedicated to preserving and promoting francophile rights and culture in Louisiana. This week the LEH joins CODOFIL and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to announce the selection of Zachary Richard as the first Poète lauréat de la Louisiane française. Richard was selected for the honorary two-year post (2014-2016) because of his outstanding contributions in the field of poetry. Chosen in even years, the French language Poet Laureate’s efforts will complement those of the English language Laureate, currently Ava Leavell Haymon, appointed in 2013 by Governor Bobby Jindal through a process directed by the LEH. Both poets will be honored at the March 29th Humanities Awards. Buy your tickets here today.
LEH 2011 Humanist of the Year Dr. Dana Kress served as the selection committee’s chair. We spoke with Dr. Kress about CODOFIL, the new position and the poetry of Zachary Richard.
LEH: We’re very excited about the establishment of this new role. Can you tell us the origins of the position?
Dana Kress: This is an idea that has been percolating in the French and Creole-speaking communities of Louisiana for some time but it gained momentum as a result of a conversation between Darrell Bourque, a former Poet Laureate of Louisiana, and Brenda Mounier, at one of the French gatherings at NuNus in Arnaudville in June of last year. Continue reading Interview: Dana Kress on French-Language Poet Laureate Zachary Richard