Creative Writing Alumnus Picked as Nebraska State Poet

Picture of Nebraska state poet Matt Mason, UC Davis graduate, English, '94
Matt Mason

Matt Mason (M.A., English, ’94) has been named state poet of Nebraska. Mason’s duties during his five-year term will include giving public presentations and readings, leading workshops and discussions, and providing outreach at schools, libraries and literary festivals across the state.

“I think a big reason I was selected is that this is the kind of work I’ve been doing anyway — going to schools, coming to communities, traveling around the state for various poetry projects,” Mason said.

Mason is executive director of the Nebraska Writers Collective through which he directs “Louder Than a Bomb,” an annual youth poetry festival. Among his books are The Baby That Ate Cincinnati and When the Bough Breaks. He has won a Pushcart Prize and two Nebraska Book Awards.

A native of Nebraska, Mason studied at Santa Clara University, before coming to UC Davis.

I came in a very young writer with some good ideas and left grounded in what I could do to develop those ideas and get them out into the world,” Mason said. “I spent two years where, essentially, my job was to write poetry under some amazing guidance. It helped me learn that my writing skills alone aren't that impressive, that my strength is really in the editing.”