John Prine Named Illinois’ First Poet Laureate

John Prine achieved something that no other person in Illinois history has: the singer/songwriter was named the state’s first honorary Illinois Poet Laureate. In a state that was the home to legendary writers, this is no small feat.

Gov. JB Pritzker made the declaration in a release today.

“Illinois has been home to many talented poets like Carl Sandburg, Sandra Cisneros, and Gwendolyn Brooks who all used their words to inspire readers across the world. Today, I’m excited to announce the search committee that will recommend our next state poet laureate,” he said.

Prine is a native of Maywood, a western suburb of Chicago.

“It’s also my honor to name our state’s first honorary poet laureate,” Pritzker continued. “John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for.”

It’s also my honor to name our state’s first honorary poet laureate. John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for. pic.twitter.com/5RSoDCrgrZ

— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) June 30, 2020

The legendary singer/songwriter died in April due to complications from the coronavirus. Many of Prine’s peers and admirers, including,  Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy, Bonnie Raitt, Lilly Hiatt, Natalie Maines, Jim James, Roger Waters, paid tribute and recently, there was a livestreamed dedication to his legacy. At its conclusion, Prine’s final song, “I Remember Everything,” was unveiled. It was produced by Dave Cobb and co-written by longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin.