Singer-songwriter John Prine named honorary Illinois Poet Laureate

The Maywood native, who passed away in April after contracting COVID-19, is the first person to receive the honor.

SHARE Singer-songwriter John Prine named honorary Illinois Poet Laureate
FILE: Singer-songwriter John Prine is in critical condition after being hospitalized for sudden COVID-19 symptoms on March 26. The Prine family shared the news on March 29 via Twitter. INDIO, CA - APRIL 27: Musician John Prine performs onstage during day 3 of 2014 Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 27, 2014 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach) ORG XMIT: 775455142

Musician John Prine performs onstage during day 3 of 2014 Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 27, 2014 in Indio, California.

Getty

Legendary songwriter and folksinger John Prine was given the posthumous tribute of being named honorary Illinois Poet Laureate, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday.

“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,” said Pritzker in a press release. “I look forward to hearing from the next generation of great writers and announcing the next Illinois Poet Laureate in the coming months.”

Prine, a Maywood native, passed away on April 7, 2020, after contracting COVID-19. He’s the first person to receive the posthumous honorary designation.

“He leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for,” Pritzker said in the proclamation, referencing lyrics from Prine’s song “Paradise.”

“I have no doubt that John would be proud and delighted to receive this recognition from his home state of Illinois,”said Fiona Whelan Prine, wife and manager of John Prine, in the press release.“Watching John, as I did many times, play to an Illinois audience was always thrilling. A homeboy delighting in the love and approval of his loyal fans — some of them family, longtime friends, old school buddies, and neighbors.”

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2019 file photo, Fiona Whelan Prine, left, and John Prine arrive at the 61st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Fiona Whelan Prine told a Senate panel Tuesday that allowing more people to cast an absentee ballot was critical in ensuring that people would remain safe and healthy during the 2020 election. Whelan Prine also contracted the coronavirus, but she has since recovered. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File) ORG XMIT: CAPM201

“I have no doubt that John would be proud and delighted to receive this recognition from his home state of Illinois,” said Fiona Whelan Prine, John Prine’s wife and manager (left).

AP Photos

Pritzker also announced the state’s formation of the 2020 Illinois Poet Laureate Search Committee (poets, writers, and academics from across the state) to review nominations and recommend an Illinois resident to become the next state poet laureate, a position that has been vacant since late 2017.

The Latest
The teen and a woman were standing outside in the 3700 block of South Langley Avenue about 12:45 a.m. when someone opened fire, striking them both.
In fatal attacks this weekend, a woman was killed and a gunman was among two others wounded in a shootout Friday night in Chinatown, Chicago police said.
Leiter entered one out into the first inning and allowed one run and three hits in 5 1⁄3 innings in the Cubs’ 3-1 victory Saturday.
He’s confident the rehab start he will make with Triple-A Iowa on Sunday will be the only one he needs before returning.