Verses and Voices

Verses and Voices is about poetry (Verses) and the many artistic ways we express creative words (Voices). When students learn to express words creatively, seeing colors and images, feeling movement and rhythm, hearing sound and music, they are enabled to see, shape, and share their creative vision and voice. Verses and Voices is an educational initiative that was founded in Missouri after the state named it's first Poet Laureate, Walter Bargen, in 2008.

The initiative has six primary goals:
  • To celebrate the state's history of creativity and build its future through creative vision.
  • To provide students a creative interaction with the state Poet Laureate and the National Poet Laureate.
  • To inspire original poetry.
  • To inspire the expression of poetry through music, visual art, interpretive readings, and dance.
  • To select and appoint Missouri's Composer Laureate who will compose a new song setting a poem by the Missouri Poet Laureate.
  • To build creative communities through artistic collaborations that combine and display all of the artistic forms named above in a Verses and Voices Festival.


The arts are the bright, unexpected threads shot through the muted fabric of our daily lives. They bring us joy and deepen human experience. They stir our imagination. They connect us with one another, and they create a tapestry that reveals who we are and what we value. The arts preserve for future generations what we think is worth listening to, looking at, talking about, and remembering. Verses and Voices is an important part of prescribing and promoting our arts traditions, and I am proud to be a part of this special tradition.

Georganne Nixon
First Lady of Missouri
Honorary Chairperson, Missouri Verses and Voices




William Trowbridge - Poet Laureate of Missouri

William Trowbridge
Missouri Poet Laureate
Find out more here.

BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas City Missouri Arts Council Missouri's First Lady: Georganne Nixon Missouri Center for the Book

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