Late folk singer-songwriter John Prine has been awarded the honorary title of Illinois Poet Laureate. The honor, announced on Tuesday by Governor JB Pritzker, makes Prine the state’s first official poet as a committee searches for his replacement.
Prine, who died on April 7th at age 73, was born and raised in the village of Maywood just west of Chicago. Before launching his successful music career, Prine also served as a mailman in The Windy City.
On Tuesday, Governor Pritzker announced that a search committee has begun the search for the state’s next poet laureate. Seeing how Illinois never had a first appointed poet, Pritzker took the opportunity to bestow the honor on Prine, who Pritzker said left “behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of friends who hope that in Heaven he finds that Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for.” Prine adds to the rich history of Illinois poets including Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandberg, Sandra Cisneros, and more.
See the official proclamation below naming John Prine the honorary poet laureate for the state of Illinois. The document provides a shortlist of some of Prine’s many achievements throughout his storied career as reasoning for bestowing this honor upon him, as if they needed any further reasoning.