The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, along with
Governor John Bel Edwards, is happy to announce Louisiana's newest poet laureate,
Mona Lisa Saloy.
Following John Warner Smith's triumphant tenure as poet
laureate, Saloy assumed the post beginning August 14 and will serve for two
years. Born and raised here in New Orleans, Saloy is a poet and folklorist with
a position as the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor of English at Dillard
University. Many of her works revolve around the lore and historic culture of
the city of New Orleans. "Dr.
Mona Lisa Saloy beautifully captures the culture and essence of Louisiana in
her mesmerizing poetry," Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Her first collection of poetry, Red Beans & Ricely Yours: Poems (Truman State University Press)
won the 2005 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, as well as the Pen Oakland-Josephine
Miles 16th Annual National Literary Award in 2006. The narrative poems included
in this collection tell the day-to-day lives of "Black New Orleans." In fact,
the phrase "Red Beans & Ricely Yours" was famously how musician Louis
Armstrong signed his letters. Her second published collection, Second Line Home: New Orleans Poems, was
published by Truman State University Press in 2014. Second Line Home explores the unique way in which the people of New
Orleans experience mourning and grief, specifically after the tragedy of
As a faculty member, Saloy has successfully raised money for
and expanded the english and creative writing programs at Dillard, as well as
securing major grants for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, as well
as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and more.
As Louisiana's literary ambassador for the next two years, Saloy will travel
around the state, enthusiastically encouraging fellow natives to engage with
For more information, please visit leh.org.