Robert Penn Warren, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide
American poet Robert Penn Warren served as U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1986-1987 at the Library of Congress. This guide provides access to selected print and online resources related to Warren’s life and work.
Maura Byrne, Intern, Poetry and Literature Center
Peter Armenti, Reference Specialist, Researcher and Reference Services Division
Created: August 4, 2022
Last Updated: August 4, 2022
On February 26, 1986, Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin announced the appointment of Robert Penn Warren as the first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. In making the appointment, Dr. Boorstin said of Warren, who had previously served as Consultant in Poetry (the position's previous title) from 1944-45:
Robert Penn Warren is a characteristically American man of letters in the range and versatility of his writings and in his feelings for the promise and the frustrations of American life. He has high attainments in poetry, fiction, criticism, and social commentary.... If there is any person today whose work unites our American in its splendid variety, that person is Robert Penn Warren.
Warren took up his duties in fall 2019, opening the Library’s annual literary season on October 6 with a reading of his work in the Coolidge Auditorium. He served one term as poet laureate, finishing his duties in spring 1987.